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Scheduled C-Section? Your Baby's at Risk!

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Dr. Elizabeth Lyster: Women should try to have their babies by vaginal delivery. There. I said it. I know not every mom can deliver vaginally. And I know that not every labor ends this way, and that is OK. Cesarean section can be a life-saving surgery for both mother and baby.

woman in delivery room looking at newborn

The problem is when a woman chooses to have her first baby by scheduled C-section. People seem to forget that this is a major surgery, with risks that go with any surgery (bleeding, infection, internal organ damage, etc.). Recovery is longer and usually more painful than after a vaginal delivery. Most importantly to the point of this article, C-section delivery raises the chances of having another C-section with later deliveries to over 90%!

And here's where the babies also have more risk. A new study shows that babies born by scheduled repeat C-section are sicker than if born by vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). They are twice as likely to be admitted to neonatal intensive care, and more likely to have breathing problems requiring oxygen.

The topic of VBAC is controversial, as is planning a first birth by C-section. While a woman's body sure does get stretched out by vaginal delivery, not all problems (such as urine leakage later in life) are avoided by C-section. I will always respect an individual woman's choice for mode of delivery. However, based on my personal and professional experience, and now with study data showing more risk to babies with elective repeat C-section, I encourage women (and their doctors) to make their best effort for a vaginal first birth.

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57 comments so far | Post a comment now
Cayenne July 30, 2009, 4:03 PM

I am the mother of four boys (12, 10, 8 and 4). The first was a c-section due to a vaginal infection. The other three were all VBAC. THe second was a 31 hour labor and the last two were over 10 pounds. All are healthy but the first son (c-section) did suffer from breathing issues the first two years that needed hospitalization. It became increasingly hard to find a doctor or hospital that would do a VBAC as the years went on. I would take the very long labor and faster recovery any day over a c-section/major surgery if it did not jeopardize myself or that of my baby. August 20, 2010, 4:48 AM

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LOL@vegmom September 4, 2010, 9:33 PM

My daughter wasn’t sick even once before 2 years! And she’s a meat eater, I don’t think being a vegan has anything to do with it! If I were going to attribute her health to anything other than genetics giving her a healthy immune system it would be due to the fact that she was breastfed for the 1st 2 years.

Shari October 1, 2010, 9:10 PM

I am currently 35 weeks pregnant with my second child. My first son was born a scheduled c section out of my control because my blood pressure was sky high and the doctor thought my life would be at risk to be induced, I also had him 3 weeks early. He came out healthy and a happy boy, but I never experienced a single labor pain. This pregnancy I have felt great, and my blood pressure has never been so good. The group I use for my ob/gyn does support VBAC, but makes your sign a consent and clearly states all the horrible things that could go wrong. I have never saw a medical topic with such importance that is not clear cut on what is reccomended. I have another scheduled c section, but have made the choice if I do go into labor to try it. I have always been a believer to do what is the safest thing possible, it does not matter the route as long as baby and mom make it through a safe delivery. If I say Im going to try a VBAC, many physicians give me a look like are you crazy, thats not safe and you will most likely end up with a section anyway …as well as other moms. (I am a nurse and in the field) If I say Im going to schedule a csection, many women comment that Im taking the “easy way out”, or should try because the recovery, or how convienent it is for my schedule. I am very disappointed on not having enough supportive evidence on which way truely is the safer way to go, and also am disappointed in so many moms passing judgement. I would never push my views on another mother, and I should not have to hide my reasons for my birthing option because of anothers views. We all have a right to feel one way, but to push it on others…isn’t right. I wish all moms out there healthy babies and safe deliveries, no matter what way!!

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