articles / Pregnancy

The truth about c-sections and vbacs…

If you haven’t read my other post about my first delivery, go check it out so you’ll have a little bit of back story.

After my first delivery ended up with an unnecessary c-section, my doctor told me that when I got pregnant again that I’d be a good candidate for a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) and he would fully support me if I wanted it.

Not long after that the hospital that I deliver at changed their policy. The insurance company for the hospital and the board of directors had decided that a VBAC was too risky so once a c-section always a c-section. Not only that, but the majority of the hospitals in the state have made that decision. In Arkansas, a woman who has had a c-section cannot have a home birth to attempt a VBAC. IF you happen to find a hospital that will allow VBACs (there’s only one within a two hour radius of me) the majority of the doctors do not support it either.

NOT my scar...this is someone else that put their scar on google...my isn't even as smooth as that except on the edges. It takes time for it to get flush with your skin again.

NOT my scar…this is someone else that put their scar on google…my isn’t even as smooth as that except on the edges. It takes time for it to get flush with your skin again.

There are some of you that are reading this and playing over in your head all the risks that you’ve been told about doing that.

Here are the risks of a VBAC (according to the Mayo Clinic):

  •  25 percent of the time it ends up in a repeat c-section
  •  1 percent — 1 in 100 women have a uterine rupture during labor due to the weakened uterine wall where the scar is.
  •  An increase in infection if another c-section is performed

All of the above risks are increased even more if you’ve had a c-section within the past 18-24 months. The risks above are slightly lower if you have a horizontal scar from your surgery (the most common type).

Here are the risks of having a c-section (according to the Mayo Clinic):

  • Baby has a higher risk of breathing problems because fluid isn’t squeezed out of the lungs the way it is during a vaginal delivery
  • Inflammation, infection, endometriosis
  • Increased bleeding — more than with a vaginal delivery, although it says transfusions are not common…
  • Higher risk of blood clots, especially in the legs
  • Infection at the incision sight (FYI: the incision is five or more inches long)
  • Surgical injury — although rare, the bladder and other organs can be damaged
  • Increased problems with future pregnancies including bleeding, placenta issues

Here are the risks of multiple c-sections (according to livestrong.com — Mayo Clinic didn’t have anything about this):

  • Increased chance of  excessive blood loss and infection
  • Surgical adhesions — these are bands of scar tissue on organs that show up due to handling. After every c-section the tissue gets thicker and it can take 10-30 minutes to get through scar tissue before performing the delivery. This can cause organs to stick to the abdominal wall and in rare cases cause infertility.
  • Increased chance of Placenta Accreta or Placenta Previa — Placenta Accreta is where the placenta buries itself too deeply into the uterine wall making it harder to detach and deliver. Placenta Previa is where the placenta covers cervix (this can cause a lot of other health risks during pregnancy).
  • Emergency hysterectomy — During a second c-section there is less than a one percent chance of needing an emergency hysterectomy during the surgery, but with the fourth c-section it jumps up to almost 2.5 percent.
  • Babies delivered by repeat c-section are twice as likely to end up in the NICU with breathing-related problems

csectionDo you notice something? The risks with having a c-section and the risks of repeat c-sections GREATLY OUTWEIGH the dangers of having a VBAC.

Why are we allowing lawyers, insurance people and hospital board members make medical decisions for us? Do you know that after c-section number two most  doctors discourage women from having any more, but after the third c-section they really push and pressure women to ensure that they don’t get pregnant again? That means that not only have the higher ups that have NO medical knowledge forced me into having a surgery I don’t want, but they inevitable make it difficult to have more than two children.

There are some people who are happy with two babies or even three babies, but some want four or more. If they’re providing for them who should be able to tell them they can’t? Honestly, the number of unnecessary c-sections has dramatically increased over the past few years, not because they’re necessary but because of doctors who are scalpel happy.

Yes, I am THANKFUL that we have the life-saving knowledge of how to safely perform a c-section when necessary. Not progressing quickly, being past 40 weeks or  having a previous c-section is not a good enough reason. A woman needs to be able to educate herself enough to make decisions about her own body. It is a doctor’s job to inform a woman of the risks associated with having a VBAC and having a repeat c-section, but it should ultimately be left up to her about what is best for her and her baby.

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