Do We Really Need More Cesareans?

Yesterday, an article from The Washington Post appeared in our San Diego Union Tribune. “ Researchers believe that raising the World Health Organization’s recommended rate of C-sections beyond the current 10-15% could result in fewer mother and infant deaths.”

Out of every 100,000 Cesareans, 36 women die giving birth due to complications from surgery.

According to the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, women have a .036% chance of death from giving birth via Cesarean, or 36 per 100,000. They have a .009% chance of death giving birth vaginally, or 9.2 per 100,000. That’s four times more risk of death from a Cesarean.

That is a dramatic difference!

Wouldn’t more Cesareans actually lead to more infant or maternal deaths? In spite of the fact that surgical births can be a life saving technique, advocating for more surgical births seems like a pretty insane recommendation since the U.S. Cesarean rate is over 34%!

Every pregnant woman needs to ask these questions of her doctor or midwife and hospital.

  1. What is your Cesarean rate?
  2. What is the average Cesarean rate of all the doctors in this practice (if it is a large practice with a number of doctors 2 or more)
  3. What is the hospitals Cesarean rate?
  4. What is your induction rate? The induction rate of the practice? (50% of labor inductions fail, leading to an unplanned Cesarean)
  5. What is the hospital’s induction rate?

Avoid the “One Day Childbirth Class” At The Hospital!

It is time for women and couples to demand care during pregnancy and birth that is safe. But it is also parents’ responsibility to take the time to get educated. That doesn’t mean taking the one-day childbirth preparation class at the local hospital! It also doesn’t help to watch YouTube videos of childbirth. Expecting parents need to learn what is normal, healthy, and safe in pregnancy, labor, and birth. You can’t learn that in a 3 hour class or from a birth video on YouTube.

For most mothers and babies a vaginal birth is the safest birth you can have. So why is the Cesarean rate in the U.S. at 34%? In some hospitals it’s even higher! See what your hospitals Cesarean rate is here.

Stop Making Cesarean Surgery Seem Normal And Like No Big Deal

There is no arguing that a Cesarean can be a life-saving technique, but it is way over used, over done and rampant! At some hospitals 1 in 4 and as much as 1 in 2 women will have a surgical birth. No one wants to scare a pregnant woman, but medical professionals need to stop making light of and deemphasizing the dangers the surgery can expose women and babies to. There are some no-nonsense risks associated with Cesarean surgery.

  • Excessive bleeding after the birth also known as post-partum hemorrhage
  • Urinary incontinence and other medical problems with the genitals or urinary organsC
  • Infection in the uterus or at the external incision site
  • Future miscarriages
  • Placenta problems like placentas growing into the scar from a previous Cesarean
  • 2-6% of babies will accidentally be cut during the surgery
  • Maternal death is 4-8 times higher than if the mother gives birth vaginally

If physicians know they need to learn about normal and healthy labor and birth, expecting parents do too.

Obstetricians are surgeons and in medical school they are taught about the pathology of pregnancy, labor, and birth and how to fix it. Pathology is the study of disease. They are not taught about normal, healthy pregnancy, labor, and birth. They look for and expect and try to avoid variations that are dangerous to mom and baby. But the reality is that the majority of mothers and babies are healthier and safer without all of the common medical procedures and interventions used in obstetrics today. I have taught 4 physicians and their partners in my Bradley Method classes. All of them told me that they wanted to learn about healthy and normal labor and birth. Though they each delivered babies, they didn’t learn anything about the normal physiology of labor and birth in medical school. So, if physicians know they need to take the time to learn about what is normal and healthy in labor and birth, then the average expecting parents do too.

Changing Your Perspective On Labor and Birth Takes Time670px-Have-a-Natural-Birth-Step-2

If you are an expecting parent, then I challenge you to do the work it takes to find the right childbirth class, childbirth educator, ob-gyn or midwife. How to start? Here are some simple baby steps to take to get you on the road to a safe and healthy birth for you and your baby, and an experience absent of fear and full of confidence in your body and yourself.

  1. Watch The Business of Being Born. It’s on Netflix and also here on YouTube free.
  2. Download The Free Healthy Birth Booklet Here Start taking your childbirth classes in your 5th or 6th month. Choose the right class for you
  3. Consider hiring a doula to help you and your partner during labor. ,,
  4. Read: Ina May’s guide To Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, and Natural Birth The Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon (Rosegg)

When you become educated, the possibilities are limitless!

Happy Birth Day!