In addition to excellent prenatal care, many expectant parents prepare for the birth of their child by developing a personal birthing plan. As part of your plan, you may decide to deliver your infant at home, in a hospital setting, or in a hybrid birthing center. Birthing plans typically also include important details like whether to use pain medications and your preference for vaginal birth versus Caesarian section.
Most parents will agree that childbirth rarely goes exactly as planned. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 32 percent of infants are delivered by Caesarian section. This means that you statistically have almost a one-in-three chance of being faced with the prospect of an unexpected C-section.
Here’s what you need to know about C-section deliveries and why you should choose a birthing center with a low CS rate.
Some expectant parents are led to believe that surgical birth by C-section is easier on the body or offers greater safety. In most cases, this is simply untrue. For low-risk pregnancies accompanied by proper prenatal care, vaginal birth is almost always the better option. In fact, studies have found that babies delivered by planned C-section were more likely to have health issues including Type 1 diabetes, obesity, and asthma.
A C-section requires an incision into your abdomen, which is later closed using staples. You will need to have a catheter inserted into your bladder and may experience intense gas pain. The hospital stay and recovery period is typically longer and the chances of returning to the hospital with an infection are almost double.
C-section surgery may result in uterine scarring that causes placental conditions during future pregnancies. These conditions may predispose you to life-threatening hemorrhaging during or after childbirth. For this reason, if you’ve had a C-section in the past, it’s likely that you will need to continue delivering by C-section for any future childbirths.
As infants are pushed through the birth canal, fluid is naturally squeezed out of their lungs. Birth by C-section bypasses this natural occurrence, increasing the chances of respiratory distress. Infants delivered by repeat C-section are two times more likely to spend time in a hospital neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
No matter how well you prepare, there’s always a chance that circumstances beyond your control will cause you to need a C-section. In an emergency situation, there’s no doubt you want your doctor to do what’s necessary to ensure the safety of you and your child. Barring this, there are some steps you can take to try to avoid birth by Cesarean section.
First and foremost, discuss your concerns with your delivery provider to ensure that you are in agreement. Ask for his or her opinion on Cesarean sections and inquire about first-time C-section delivery rates. Don’t wait until the last minute to have this conversation. Address it in the early stages of your prenatal care so you have the option to change health care providers if necessary.
Induced labor and early epidurals both increase the chances that you may need to deliver by Cesarean section. Speak to your doctor before you go into labor to discuss the pros and cons of these medical interventions. You can also avoid intervention by laboring at home for as long as possible.
Remember that if you happen to go into labor while your doctor is unavailable, you may end up with the on-call physician. It’s a good idea to inquire about the overall C-section rates for the hospital or birthing center where you plan to deliver your infant. A location with low CS rates may increase your chances of vaginal delivery.