Here’s the question of the moment for me:
Why are pregnant woman choosing c-sections over vaginal birth?
I’m all about birth choices, really. I am admittedly a passionate supporter of homebirth, (whenever I read about the c-section rate I think, “Why doesn’t everyone want a homebirth? You can’t get a c-section at home”), but I am not that naïve and I actually support a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body and her baby. But, there is a big “but” here. You owe it to yourself to do your own research on this issue, and don’t take anyone’s word for it!
In case you missed it, the latest study (from France) says that a woman is at THREE TIMES the risk of dying during a c-section as opposed to a vaginal birth.
THREE TIMES the risk of death, and woman are choosing this option. Worse yet, their doctors (who “should” know better) are granting them this wish. I am not sure which is more ludicrous. The woman who asks to be cut open or the doctor who full well knows the risks, or should (this latest study was just published in Obstetrics and Gynecology).
So, there obviously is a disconnect here. I don’t believe that childbirth is inherently dangerous for most women. Yet, it has been proven that low-risk women have a much higher chance of dying in a cesarean section surgery than in a vaginal birth. Unless care providers of pregnant women are just not keeping up with these stats (which wouldn’t be an acceptable excuse anyway), how on earth did our c-section rate get to be 29%? Do they hear about these risks and think the odds are too small for anything to happen to their patient? Or is it all about their risk, and they reason that if they give her what she asks for they can ‘t be held legally liable?
But instead of focusing on what is being done wrong, the women in question (US!!!) need to take a stand! Does the above research still make you feel comfortable with elective birth surgery? What about if we focus on the benefits of vaginal birth? Even if you have had several prior c-sections, the research is also promising. Studies found no higher rate of uterine rupture among those women as compared to those who had only had one c-section. Still, I haven’t come across too many hospital caregivers who will take, and then support a VBAC woman. (“Support” being the crucial element here, as taking in a patient and then actually respecting them once they are in labor is a completely different thing).
So, if the medical elite aren’t going to do their research and apply it to their practice to best serve their patients, then I say the responsibility is all ours. As it should be. But this personal sense of responsibility is often forgotten when it comes to birth because we trust who is “in charge” of our care. No matter where you choose to birth, or with whom, put yourself in charge. It is that simple. You can choose to accept the risk, or not, with full accountability.