With recent stories in the news, like the CNN story “Mom Defies Doctor, Has Baby Her Way,” I have begun to wonder if the vast increase in the number of cesareans done in this country each year is due almost entirely to the fact that doctors are just too busy to be bothered with waiting for a vaginal birth to progress. With labor lasting anywhere from a few hours to a few days in some cases, that is precious time that doctors could be utilizing elsewhere.
In the CNN story referenced above, a woman named Aneka (last name withheld) was pronounced irresponsible by her obstetrician when she failed to show up for her scheduled C-section. Aneka, the was given a cesarean after 10 hours of labor with her first child nine year prior when the doctor pronounced it was not “progressing” as she would like. From that point forward, doctors insisted that she have C-sections for the birth of her two other children because of her first cesarean.
When Aneka became pregnant with her fourth child, she started researching her options and was frustrated to find that no one wanted to allow her to have a vaginal birth. Eventually, she found a midwife who delivered her fourth baby (a healthy 9 pound 6 ounce boy) at home without issue.
As a mother of four and a woman who had a cesarean with my first child, I know first hand that it is possible to deliver vaginally after one. My oldest son was born via C-section when I was in labor and it was discovered he was breach. I had an emergency C-section and it was quite possibly the worst experience of my life, as I was put to sleep, missed the birth of my son and had a long recovery period.
When I became pregnant with my second son, I became determined to have a natural vaginal birth. At that point, both hospital and just about every doctor in the area were still allowing VBAC and I delivered him after naturally after only a few hours in labor. By the time I became pregnant with my third son, only one hospital was still allowing C-sections and my choice in doctors was becoming smaller. I again gave birth naturally with no complications.
The search became much harder when I became pregnant with my fourth son. I could only find one local doctor who would allow a V-BAC and accept me as a patient and the local hospital allowed me to have one, but has since stopped allowing them.
In a statement released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists earlier this year, they talked about issuing less restrictive guidelines for VBACs. In 1970, the percent of births that resulted in a C-section was a mere 5%, in 2007, that number jumped to 31% and continues to grow. In a society that is so driven by pro-choice movements in so many aspects of life, why are women not given the choice of what to do with their bodies in this most natural instance? Are their risks associated with VBACs, yes. There are also a wide range of possible risks associated with having a cesarean as well.
What do you think? Have C-sections become a convenience for doctors today?