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Past C-Sections Narrow Options For Repeat Mothers

Thanks to the threat of malpractice suits, more hospitals than ever -- an estimated 300 facilities according to one consumer group -- have policies in place that prevent a woman who delivers her first baby by Caesearan from having any subsequent babies naturally because vaginal deliveries following C-section births have increased risk factors.

It's becoming a bigger issue these days, according to holistic and conventional medical experts, especially as the number of women choosing C-sections has grown to more than 27 percent of all births in 2003 in the United States and is increasing worldwide.

As it does most often, the cold, hard numbers really show a narrowing of options for mothers: The rate of vaginal births in women who have had Caesareans has fallen by almost two-thirds -- to 10.6 percent in 2003 from 28.3 percent in 1996. About 300,000 women a year have repeat Caesareans.

Why women choose natural childbirth over C-sections makes great sense to me: Women recover more quickly and with less pain than they do from a Caesarean. In addition, each Caesarean increases the risk of complications in the next pregnancy, so women who want more than two or three children often hope to avoid the operation.

Some experts are worried a ban on natural births after C-sections may force some women to try giving birth at home or in birthing centers that are unequipped to perform an emergency Caesarean if necessary. Moreover, some women, determined to avoid a repeat Caesarean, doctors said, have endangered themselves and their babies by staying at home in labor -- or even staying in the hospital parking lot -- until the last minute.

Some healthy options you can use to ensure a safe, natural birth:

  • Talk to your OB/GYN now!
  • Hire a doula or labor assistant.
  • Make a birth plan.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer November 29, 2004

The Lakeland Ledger November 29, 2004

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