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The Trouble With Repeat Cesareans

Posted by Sandra on February 20, 2009

(hat tip to Rixa, once again!)

From the article:

For many pregnant women in America, it is easier today to walk into a hospital and request major abdominal surgery than it is to give birth as nature intended. Jessica Barton knows this all too well. At 33, the curriculum developer in Santa Barbara, Calif., is expecting her second child in June. But since her first child ended up being delivered by cesarean section, she can’t find an obstetrician in her county who will let her even try to push this go-round. And she could locate only one doctor in nearby Ventura County who allows the option of vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). But what if he’s not on call the day she goes into labor? That’s why, in order to give birth the old-fashioned way, Barton is planning to go to UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. “One of my biggest worries is the 100-mile drive to the hospital,” she says. “It can take from 2 to 3 1/2 hours. I know it will be uncomfortable, and I worry about waiting too long and giving birth in the car.”

Much ado has been made recently of women who choose to have cesareans, but little attention has been paid to the vast number of moms who are forced to have them. More than 9 out of 10 births following a C-section are now surgical deliveries, proving that “once a cesarean, always a cesarean”–an axiom thought to be outmoded in the 1990s–is alive and kicking. Indeed, the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN), a grass-roots group, recently called 2,850 hospitals that have labor and delivery wards and found that 28% of them don’t allow VBACs, up from 10% in its previous survey, in 2004. ICAN’s latest findings note that another 21% of hospitals have what it calls “de facto bans,” i.e., the hospitals have no official policies against VBAC, but no obstetricians will perform them.

Read the rest of the article here.


Rixa asks all of us:

I feel that access to VBAC is one of the most pressing maternity care issues in this country, along with the disturbingly high cesarean rate (31.1% as of 2006). Please advertise this article widely, making sure to link to the original article on Time‘s website. The more traffic it gets, the longer it will remain online.


2 Responses to “The Trouble With Repeat Cesareans”

  1. Kay said

    What about the women that have the choice and still pick a repeat c-section. Are we to be demonized? Sorry, but I wasn’t willing to put my life and my child’s life on the line because of my first experience with an all natural birth that did end in a c-section. I went into labor on my own, labored at home for as long as possible, declined checks, having my water broke and drugs. Really, what are my options than?

    • Sandra said

      I don’t believe this article, which I thanked the original poster for putting on her blog, is stating that every single C-section and repeat c-section is a bad thing. You made a phenomenal choice, and you are healthy with a healthy baby to show for it! Good for you, and congratulations! There are certainly things that are out of our control, but the article is just pointing out that these are the exceptions, not the rule. Thank God you were able to to have that baby safely.

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