Family Magazine

Why You May Want to Re-think That C-section

By Lindsayleighbentley @lindsayLbentley

Alright, this is touchy but most of my blog is, so here goes.

I hope you will remember MY VISION while you read this, and understand that I am truly only writing these things because I don’t believe that we are given the real story from the media and mainstream medicine most of the time.

I’m about to have my 3rd baby.  I plan to do this naturally.  I have no reason to believe that I won’t be able to have the complication-free natural birth with this one that I had with my first two.

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But there is a chance that I will need a c-section.

A 2% chance.

Really? only 2%?

Yep.

Despite what our hospital stats are saying as the c-section rates are hovering right above 30%, nearing 50% in some cities, true situations requiring a c-section only happen in 2% on pregnancies.

Ok, look, before you get all up in arms calling me a Dr.-hater, hear me out.

Doctors have their place.  An extremely important one.  Doctors have saved the lives of my own family members and for that I am very grateful.  

One of my good friends, Anya, would have died in childbirth due to a ruptured placenta had it not been for the speedy actions of a skilled doctor who performed a c-section within minutes of her arriving at the hospital.

But OB/GYN’s are trained surgeons.

Many graduate from medical school without having ever even witnessed a natural birth!

I know there are countless stories that you all have with examples of times when, for one reason or another, a c-section really is absolutely necessary.  So for these times, I thank God that we have this as an option!

But in that other 98% of the time, asking a doctor who is more trained in surgery than in birthing to assist a woman in a normal, vaginal delivery is obviously not working.

Just a few hours after Miles was born - at the birth center.

Just a few hours after Miles was born – at the birth center.

And I hate to include this in the conversation, but there is a dark side that can’t be ignored. Here’s a quote from a former NICU nurse that messaged me:

“I actually would see the doctors I worked with make up reasons to section their patients… It was disgusting!! The women would believe them!! When the truth was the doctor had a game to catch.  It happened every night that I worked.  The NICU doctor would actually convince some of the OB’s to do a c-section so that the NICU could get more babies…”  –L.S., Dallas, TX

It’s no secret that C-section rates spike at 4pm (Dr. is home in time for dinner) and 10pm (Dr. isn’t up all night).  Thankfully, not all doctors behave this way, but it is happening.  In America.  To us.

It only takes a quick glance at our trends and statistics as a nation to see that we are clearly going in the wrong direction.

Folks, our maternal death rate is rising.  RISING.  This should never, ever happen in a modern, “progressive” society.

The government actually had to step in recently to make a law stating that elective C-sections could not take place before 38 weeks because SO many babies were getting sick and dying from being born prematurely.

I know that no mother wants to hear this, but some babies just take 42, 43, and even 44 weeks to cook.  My friend Bre makes those kinds of babies.  And her babies aren’t 12 pounders like everyone would fear, just a normal 7-8 lbs.  Another woman I know has 7 children, all of which needed 43-44 weeks gestation.  What might have happened has she gone with the “norm” and induced a month too soon?  

(There are simple, safe tests that can be done during this time to be sure the baby is healthy and doing well post due-date.)

Some babies only need 38.  My cousin Jessica is like this.  Her babies are born naturally at 37 or 38 weeks every time, perfectly big and healthy.  She’s really a wonderful person, so let’s try not to hate her too much for this one.

There are a host of reasons that the c-section rate is so high.

One being induction.  Your chances of ending up with a c-section skyrocket if you are induced.  Because your body and baby simply are not ready to yet have the baby. Your body is doing everything it can to keep that baby inside because it knows that it’s not time.  Plus, pitocin makes contractions far more intense than natural contractions.  This almost always necessitates an epidural because it completely overwhelms and exhausts the mother, as well as spiking the heart rate of the little one, often putting them into distress…did you know that?  We also haven’t studied Pitocin long enough to know the long term neurological ramifications of this drug on a baby’s body.

I can’t even begin to start to relay all of the personal stories I have heard of inductions gone wrong. From the mother never progressing and enduring hours of agonizing, pointless labor; to babies that require NICU simply because they were forced into being born too soon.

Another reason is preference and convenience.  I know, it’s really convenient to have that baby born when your Mom is in town, or your doctor is in town, or not on Christmas, or not on another sibling’s birthday.  Trust me, I fully sympathize!  Hank was in the midst of a massive nationwide tour when we were due with Miles.  But please, think of the baby here.  Plus, A c-section is major surgery.  In my opinion, it shouldn’t be ordered up like a mani/pedi.  Until just over a decade ago elective c-sections weren’t even allowed because of the risk.

No lie you guys, give me a 3 minute convo with a new mom about to have a baby and I can make a pretty good guess as to the type of birth she will end up with.  I’ve been wrong, but more often than not, I get it pretty close!  Because it’s not rocket science.  It’s birth…and when a mother is not equipped mentally, emotionally, and physically, she usually ends up with all kinds of medical interventions that she didn’t plan on having, often leading to a c-secition that she never needed in the first place.

Sometimes, absolutely, sometimes it is necessary, but not nearly as often as we think.

DId you know that fear causes more pain in childbirth than the actual physical process?

The third reason I believe the C-section rate is skyrocketing is because of our systems.  I touched on this a moment before.  We aren’t equipping mothers, fathers, hospitals, doctors, and nurses with the knowledge and resources that they need to have the kind of birth that they most likely would be able to have.  So many things from the “lying down, legs up in stirrups” position (this is for the Dr.’s benefit, not yours by the way as it actually makes pushing more difficult and makes the pelvis smaller), to being told that “you are too small”, to “the baby is breech”, etc., are, quite honestly, causing more harm that good.

My mother in law was told, 30 years ago, that she was too small to give birth vaginally, and would need a c-section.  Not knowing that she had other options, she agreed, and thankfully did well.  However, by the time she was pregnant with her 3rd child she realized that those c-sections were quite possibly not necessary.  By that time all three of her sisters had gone through complication-free vaginal deliveries. But at this point, after having had 2 already, no doctor would allow a VBAC.  She has told me countless times how she regrets not getting a second opinion or even questioning her first Doctor’s recommendation.

Did you know that a properly trained midwife can expertly and successfuly deliver multiples, breech babies, and do VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)?

I recently found this article from “Birth Without Fear” that has some fascinating statistics – I encourage you to check it out.  The most shocking statistic that I read is that your chances of death (we are talking the mother dying, this extremely rare, but does happen) goes from o.2 per 100,000 with a vaginal delivery to 2.2 per 100,000 with cesarean.  That is a 1000% increase/difference!

1000%.  I had to read it about 5 times to believe it.

Your overall risk of injury and complications like infection, heart failure, hemorrhage, organ damage and emergent hystorectamy go up significantly as well.

You are 5 times more likely to experience uterine rupture after having a single c-section  and 9 times more likely after having 4, which truly limits a woman’s ability to choose how many children she wants to have.  These are the things that I just don’t think girls are being told at the time of making this crucial decision.

If you find yourself being cared for by a medical professional that is saying things that just don’t make sense like “you will probably want a c-section” or “I’ll let you labor for a little while” or “there are no side effects of induction” or “that’s just how we do it here”…I want to encourage you to consider finding someone new.  I know people who have switched to a midwife a 38 weeks.  I also know people who have had babies with wonderful Doctors who have midwifery training and allowed them to labor naturally, using all of the wonderful training they have to avoid interventions even during very difficult labors.  Many hospitals also have fabulous midwives on staff, my friend Pam is one!

My husband, the first person to ever hold our baby.

My husband, the first person to ever hold our Miles.

It’s also important to research the c-section rates at the hospital or birth center that you are choosing.  These vary greatly depending on the systems they have in place and doctors in charge.  Birth centers average around a 2% c-section rate, while most hospitals average around 30%.

Because remember, there is a 98% chance that you can do this.  Naturally.  So if someone is telling you differently, get a second, or third opinion.

But why would you want to do this naturally?  I’ll be devoting a whole post to the miracle that is natural birth in the near future…I’m actually getting excited about doing it again!

We recently signed up for Samaritan Ministries, an alternative to traditional insurance, and I was SO pleased to see this quote in the Guidelines:

2. The initial unpublishable $300 (deductible) is waived for home births because they tend to reduce overall maternity costs. 

Even an “insurance” company gets it.

We’ve got to do better.  You deserve better.  Our babies deserve better.

live well. be well.

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