Its no wonder the joy of a positive pregnancy test starts to fade almost as soon as it’s discovered.
Only to be replaced by the realities of what it takes, and what one risks as she births a baby.
No, the nervous, uncertain feeling about birth is not just you.
It has nothing to do with your baby either.
In the early days of pregnancy, every thought of this new life brings smiles about those cute toes, and what will their smile be like? We relish in the joy that this new life is finally happening after the long road to get here.
And even when that positive line was unexpected and we feel unprepared, uncertain about how we will meet this new call, we still feel the magic and awe of creating new life.
But, just as starting a new hobby can go from exciting to overwhelming once undertaken, so motherhood becomes daunting almost as soon as it begins.
Unfortunately, birth in America is not always an ideal story. And mothers today have a complex world to navigate.
Today I want to share with you one powerful and simple tool that will help you have a safer birth and significantly reduce your chances of having an unnecessary C-section.
The Pros And Cons Of Having A C-Section
Before I show you this tool, let’s talk about WHY it is important for just a moment. What is the big deal about c-sections anyways?
Many mother’s wonder what the big deal about C-sections really is in the first place. Are they good? Are they bad? Why do so many people fear having this kind of birth and why do other women happily choose this kind of birth?
Well, there are absolutely times when a C-section IS the right choice for a mother and her child. There are other times when it is absolutely the wrong choice for a mother and her child. The good news is, that while all surgeries have risks, C-sections are typically considered safe and are usually uncomplicated.
Here are a few benefits of c-sections:
If a baby is breech, meaning it is positioned butt down in the womb instead of head down in the womb, it is usually safer for the baby to be born via C-section.
If the placenta is between the baby and the cervix, called placenta previa, the mom and baby may be safer having a C-section.
If labor stops progressing, a mom may need a C-section to help get her baby into her arms.
If the baby is in distress and needs to get out ASAP a C-section can be the best option.
It is clear that in some cases a C-section can save the life of a mom or her child. This is why it is important to have appropriate medical care who can help guide you through the birth process and help you if anything does go wrong. According to the World Health Organization, in an ideal world, about 10-15% of births would be via C-section.
So, if C-sections can save lives, is it always the right choice? The answer of course is no. There are millions of babies being born every year and it would be ridiculous to think that there was one type of birth that was right for every single one of those mother’s and babies.
You may be wondering, why is a C-section a big deal anyways? It’s absolutely true, that when used at the right time, a C-section could save the life of a baby or mom. Which is a good thing!
But, studies show, that unfortunately, the climbing C-section rates have not led to better outcomes for moms or babies overall. Not to mention, while birth is not easy for anyone, a C-section can be extra difficult on moms and babies.
These facts might help you get a picture for why so many moms are taking steps to prevent an unnecessary C-section. And why I am so passionate about sharing the steps a mom can take to make her birth safer.
1. An unnecessary C-section is more dangerous for a mother than not having a C-section. The risks to women during a C-section can be dramatic. The risk of severe hemorrhage, bad infections like sepsis, organ injury, around three times higher with a C-section as compared to not having a C-section
2. It can take longer to bond with your baby after a C-section.
According to an article in the Journal Of Child Psychology and Psychiatry mothers who deliver vaginally have more activity in the emotional and parenting parts of their brain after delivery. This means that caring for their baby feels more rewarding to mothers who deliver naturally than to other moms. Not surprisingly, these mothers are more responsive to their babies. C-section moms are obviously just as good of moms as others, but they may have to work harder for it and may not get as much of a hormonal feel good reward for it in their brains.
3. Moms are more likely to experience post partum depression after a C-section.
Studies consistently show that moms who give birth vaginally have better physical health 2 months postpartum and better emotional health 4 months postpartum. The idea that a C-section is a quick and effortless surgery is a false promise. The consequences of a C-section will be with a mom for months, perhaps even years, after a delivery.
4. A C-section could have long term consequences for your baby.
According to one study that looked at long term consequences of a C-section on babies, it was determined that children born by C-section also suffer increased rates of diseases, including asthma, type I diabetes, allergies, obesity, as well as reduced overall cognitive functioning and lower academic performance.
5. It is estimated that half of C-sections could be prevented.
In an interview with the Harvard Chan School of Public Health Dr. Shah states that it is estimated that over half of all C-sections (in the US) could be prevented. Currently 31% of all births in the United States are C-sections, which is double the World Health Organizations recommended number
So Are C-Sections Good Or Bad?
I often have moms ask me, so are C-sections actually good or bad? My answer is they are good when needed, but come with challenges. It’s also great to avoid one if possible, unless it’s something you really want. This is your birth and you get to do what is right for YOU!
Think back to your childhood listening to fairy tales. Do you remember how Rumplestieskin could always help, but it came with a cost? That’s how I see C-sections. Sometimes we find ourselves in sticky situations where things aren’t going as planned. In the right time and place, surgical birth absolutely saves a life and resolves a true emergency. So I celebrate that we have this tool.
But I also know that it is not as simple or easy in the big picture as one would hope. It’s important that mothers who want to prevent a C-section are given the correct tools to reduce their risks as much as possible. This is why I am so passionate about childbirth education.
It is also important that mothers who have C-sections are fully supported in their recovery and first months of attaching to their baby.
It’s important to recognize that birth via surgery and birth the traditional way are both challenging and all moms should be recognized and honored for the lives they bring into the world. and the sacrifices they make to do so.
A Powerful Tool To Reduce Your Odds For Having An Unnecessary C-Section
The truth is that the soaring c-section rates have many causes. Including the way we as women take care of ourselves. There are more mothers going into birth as high risk patients, who are older, overweight and already suffering from choronic illness. However, many researchers conclude that the women going into birth are not the root cause of the problem at all.
Many women believe that all birthing locations are the same and the outcome and support they expect at any of them will be about equal. This is not the case at all.
In fact, the location you choose can be the single most important factor when it comes to preventing an unnecessary c-section.
Dr. Shah an OBGYN and huge advocate of women’s rights shouts it from the rooftops this way:
the hospital where a woman gives birth may be the single most important factor in whether or not she has a C-section.
Dr. Neel Shah
When we look at only healthy, low risk women, C-sections rates are completely different in hospitals that focus on reducing C-section rates and those that don’t.
In fact, in the best hospitals, only 7% of healthy low risk women have C-sections. In the worst hospitals? Over 70% of healthy low risk women have C-sections.
It matters where you give birth.
This means that you as a mother have a very important decision to make when it comes to WHERE you give birth.
Just like we know that EDUCATION is good, yet at the same time there are better and worse schools and your choice of school can affect your future, the same is true for birthing locations.
Having a medical team around you is VERY important. But, it’s your job to find the BEST care for you.
And I am going to show you how to do private detective level research on your hospital.
Ok, I kid, you don’t have to be a private detective to do this, and the information is public. Not to mention, it will take you 5 minutes or less.
Let’s get started.
How To Find My Local C-Section Rates By Hospital
Not every hospital has made their c-section rates public information. However, most have. And finding the c-section rates for the hospital near you is easier than ever.
Yes, you can find this information in less than 5 minutes flat.
Here is what you are going to do:
Click this link to LeapFrog Group’s hospital search. This will open the largest data base of United States Hospital ratings.
In the search by tabs, click the option that says location. Enter your zip code.
A list of hopitals will show up with the nearest ones to you at the top.
Now – this is where it gets a bit tricky. You cannot compare each hospital side by side. You have to look at each hospital individually. But don’t worry, it’s a quick and easy process!
4. Scroll through the list of hospitals until you see the hospital you are considering. Click the green button that says View Hospital Ratings.
5. When the hospital information shows up, you need to scroll down to look through the green bullet points. Look for the one that say +Maternity Care. Click on it.
6. Once the Maternity Care Tab opens ceserean sections will be the first category. You now need to click the ORANGE words saying Show More On This Hospitals Performance and it will show you that specific hospitals c-section rates .
7. On the right, there is a green bar showing how close to Leapfrog’s standards the hospital has come. (Only 20% of hospitals meet their high standards, if you found one, celebrate!)
Click through several hospitals in your area to get a good idea of what hospital has you as their top priority.
So How Can You Protect Yourself From An Unnecesary C-Section?
Avoiding an unnecessary c-section is a worthy goal. And one you should be supported in. Choosing your care provider and birth location are two of the most important decision you will make when are trying to avoid a c-section.
When it comes to avoiding a c-section, you need to do three things:
Choose the best place to give birth.
Assemble and amazing team.
Prepare yourself for birth.
I hope this article gave you a good place to start. However, there is a lot more that you can do to prepare for birth that can be joyful, rewarding and most importantly safe. I teach about creating a safe birth and what skills and tools you need to get through labor in my courses. I would be honored if you took a moment to check them out.
TL/DR C-Section Rates By Hospital
Avoiding an unnecessary C-section is a worthy goal, and one that may take some planning and effort. Not every hospital is the same. In fact C-section rates by hospital vary from 7% to 70%. That is a HUGE difference.
Many women do not believe the location of their birth matters when it comes to their birth. The research shows that it does.
A mother can protect and advocate for herself by first, finding out the C-section rates by the hospitals near her. Choosing a hospital that has a lower C-section rate if possible and learning skills and tools that will help her get through labor.