I last gave birth 17 years ago this month and am not planning to repeat the experience in this lifetime. But after reading a recent news story about the trend of some mothers scheduling cesareans the same way they might make dinner reservations, I can only shake my head and think back to my own two births.
I last gave birth 17 years ago this month and am not planning to repeat the experience in this lifetime.
But after reading a recent news story about the trend of some mothers scheduling cesareans the same way they might make dinner reservations, I can only shake my head and think back to my own two births.
I have a personal basis for comparison, having had my daughter vaginally and my son via cesarean.
Sometimes you don’t get a choice. You might have a stubborn 10-pound baby boy determined to come out feet first (been there, done that, have the scar to prove it) or there might be some other reason why you need a surgical delivery. You do what you need to do.
But even though my C-section went well enough that I was able to leave the hospital a day and a half later and my recovery was excellent, it was a lot more painful and difficult than when I gave birth to my daughter.
Even after a vaginal delivery that was about as long and drawn-out as possible (40 hours) and a C-section recovery about as fast as any I’ve ever seen, I’d still take a vaginal delivery over a C-section, no contest. You can probably walk around and care for your baby an hour after a vaginal birth, while just standing up is difficult and painful for some days after a surgical birth.
When something goes wrong, this major surgery can save lives. But I don’t know if women understand — or are properly informed — that when a choice is possible, a vaginal delivery is normally safer for both mother and baby.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists notes the trend of more women requesting elective cesareans and acknowledges that many doctors believe that a cesarean should not take the place of a vaginal delivery without a medical reason. However, the organization does not take a firm stance for or against elective cesareans.
Very few families pay for childbirth out of pocket. Most of us will use insurance, and a great number will depend on public aid. Should scarce health care dollars be devoted to cesareans performed for non-medical reasons? It’s something we should consider.
Having been active in childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting organizations many years ago, I’ve heard thousands of childbirth stories, read any number of books and journal articles about childbirth, and even attended a couple of friends’ births.
I know that too many of us have heard terrifying stories about women who nearly died from horrific childbirths. We seldom hear stories about women with quick and easy deliveries, even though I know many women who had them. How fortunate none of them had opted for scheduled surgeries instead.
I don’t know why we have scared women to the point that many of them actually believe that having their bodies cut open will be easier than pushing the baby through the opening designed for it.
Whether we’re talking about childbirth or any other area of medicine, we ought to make choices based primarily on health and safety, taking costs into consideration when appropriate.
Fear is not a good basis for making such decisions.
Pekin Times Editor Michelle Teheux can be reached at (309) 346-1111 or at email@example.com.
The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Pekin Daily Times.