According to the CDC National Vital Statistics Report, every third American mother is giving birth by Cesarean Section. That is about 32 percents of births in the USA. The research shows that the optimal number, which is good for mothers and babies, is below 10 percents. So, why are American mothers having so many Cesarean sections?
Mothers say no
In an interesting review of mothers’ attitudes towards childbirth called Listening to mothers, great majority of women said that they would not chose Cesarean section unless there was a medical need for it. So, if mothers do not want it, who does?
You would think that the most reasons for the need for such a drastic measure as Cesarean section lay in the fact that women are giving birth in increasingly older age, that their general health is less perfect than in young women, and that there are increasing numbers of multiple births. But, according to the article published in the Lancet, those are not reasons at all. It seems that the medical professionals prefer it. First, natural childbirth is long and tedious and requires constant monitoring and presence of medical personnel. That is expensive. Doctors are also constantly afraid of malpractice liability. Most mothers are not even given the choice of natural birth. The situation is similar in many other countries.
The dangers of a Cesarean section
Cesarean section is a serious surgical procedure. As such, it brings the likelihood of many additional dangers for both mothers and babies. Some of the dangers are: possibility of infection, injury during surgery, blood clots, hysterectomy, much longer lasting pain, longer stay in the hospital and much longer time needed to recover from birth. Babies are in more danger of having surgical cuts, problem with breathing and breastfeeding, and even childhood-onset asthma and diabetes.
In addition, nine out of ten women have repeated Cesarean section if they had it the first time. Multiple Cesarean sections have additional dangers. The latest research results published in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology show that women who went through multiple Cesarean sections are more likely to have incidence of hemorrhage, are five times more likely to have a pre-term delivery at later pregnancies, and are much more likely to suffer from placenta praevia or placenta accreta, abnormally positioned placenta in the womb.
It is very important that expecting mothers have honest and serious discussion with their obstetrician before getting ready to give birth. They need information about what are the real reasons that require Cesarean section and what are their other options. If no medical reasons exist for a Cesarean section, the final decision about having natural birth or not should be theirs.