Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cesareans and Episiotomies and Epidurals, Oh My!

This is what we learned about in our 5th Bradley Class this week. I hope I'll never have to experience any of these wonderful things but at least I'll be able to make an informed decision if they become necessary. Mr. Baby Fever skipped out on the last 30 minutes of class because he had to take care of a work situation so he missed the cesarean video but lucky for him, the instructor let us take it home so he can watch it later.

I have a "friend" who actually asked me if I was planning on scheduling a cesarean when I told her that I was pregnant. I completely understand that there are situations when a cesarean is necessary but to actually plan on one without there being a medical need is crazy and irresponsible in my opinion. I informed my friend that I was planning on a vaginal birth and she responded, "yeah I would never do that". Wow I really hope she does her research before she decides to have children!

From Mothering Magazine:
1. A woman is five to seven times more likely to die from a cesarean delivery than from a vaginal delivery.
2. A woman having a repeat C-section is twice as likely to die during delivery.
3. Twice as many women require rehospitalization after a C-section than after a vaginal birth.
4. Having a C-section means higher rates of infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and potentially severe placental problems in future pregnancies.
5. Babies born after an elective cesarean delivery (i.e., when labor has not yet begun) are four times more likely to develop persistent pulmonary hypertension, a potentially life-threatening condition.
6. Between one and two babies of every hundred delivered by C-section will be accidentally cut during the surgery.
7. The US is tied for second-to-last place with Hungary, Malta, Poland, and Slovakia for neonatal mortality in the industrialized world.4
8. Babies born via C-section are at high risk for not receiving the benefits of breastfeeding.
9. The risk of death to a newborn delivered by C-section to a low-risk woman is 1.77 deaths to 1,000 live births. The risk of death to a newborn delivered vaginally to a low-risk woman is only 0.62 per 1,000 live births.

The extremely high rate of C-sections in the U.S. (32.3%) is outrageous and unnecessary. When we were exploring our options and went to a few hospital tours, we were shocked to find out that these hospitals C-section rates were actually above the already high national average?! Maybe it's because they push pitocin on their patients (yes, a nurse actually told me that I would at the very least be given pitocin and therefore be confined to my bed during labor), which often leads to an epidural. An epidural will then slow down labor and the more likely it will end in a forceps, vacuum, or cesarean delivery. Why is this standard care in the U.S.?

On a more positive note, I had a check up with my midwives on Monday and everything is looking great! They received my chart from my previous OB and said that I have a "text book pregnancy" - sounds good to me! The baby's heart beat was the strongest we've ever heard it, such an amazing sound! I'm continuing to watch my diet and exercise on a daily basis so I'm right where I need to be as far as weight gain and belly growth goes. The dreaded gestational diabetes test has been scheduled for my next appointment at the end of the month. They offered me a choice between the nasty orange sugar drink or jelly beans for the test - I of course picked jelly beans! I might not mind this test so much after all. The "D-word" has been at the forefront of my mind this entire pregnancy, I don't want to put myself or my baby at risk for diabetes later in life and I definitely don't want anything to jeopardize my chance for a home birth. I'm ready to get this test over with!

26 Weeks & 4 Days Pregnant


  1. Is it crazy that I'm already stressing out about all of the different birth and labor options? I'm hoping to do a natural birth, WITHOUT an epidural, but we'll see.
    Follow your heart- and I'm sure everything will go just fine for you and your baby.

  2. Interesting that you're attacking c-sections for having medical risks, yet you are planning a home birth. Personally, I know three people who have experienced a horrible tragedy during a home birth (one baby died and two have life-long permanent and serious disabilities resulting from a traumatic birth). I hope you've done your homework on your midwife and the risks associated with homebirths.