Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Elective" c-sections

Jennifer Block has written a very interesting article on the term "elective" when applied to c-sections. As she succinctly points out,
if a woman with a scar from a previous cesarean goes to her OB and is recommended to schedule a repeat cesarean—and is told that a vaginal birth would be risky, and that anyway it won't be done by this doctor, this practice, or this hospital—can the surgery possibly be called "elective?"
Over 50% of women who want a VBAC are told that there is no possible way for them to have one. How the resulting c-section is considered the woman's choice is beyond me.


Sara in Seattle said...

thanks for this article... the medical community needs to make it a priority to make sure that women are better educated about the birth options available to them

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Sara, thanks for the comment. I agree - and more than that, the medical community needs to make it a priority to make sure that women HAVE birth options. Too many women don't, and that is a travesty in America.

Sara in Seattle said...

hi, Emily! I actually linked to your blog from Amie's site--I love reading blogs of other moms since I'm a new mom myself... I find there's lots of wisdom to glean from moms with more experience

Anonymous said...

I found your blog through blogger. I felt I needed to comment. My first child was breech and I needed a C-Section for both her health and safety and mine. When I had my son 3 years later, I was told by the midwives who provided my pre-natal care that I could elect to have VBAC but they would not be able to provide my care due to insurance. I was told all the risks and chose to have another C-Section. Frankly, my main goal after giving birth was to be wheeled out of the hospital with a healthy baby in my arms and I got that both times. I think the issue isn't as much with the medical community, but with the insurance companies. I was fortunate to have wonderful midwives and doctors who gave my husband and I all the information we needed, but we also put the my health and the health of our children as a priority rather than having the birth experience I wanted.
Just another opinion.

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Jana, I absolutely agree that the goal is a safe delivery and a healthy baby, not a certain "birth experience". However, in many, many cases the safest option is to vbac, and women are not being allowed to do that.

I also agree with you that a large part of the problem is insurance. If VBACs aren't believed to be safe, then insurance companies start refusing to cover doctors and hospitals who allow them. It seems to be a vicious cycle, and one that I'm not sure how we'll break out of. Still, a good first step is educating women, and that is what I hope to do.

Thanks for your comment! I'm glad your kids are healthy!