It’s APRIL. Its spring and its also Cesarean Awareness Month. Soooooo every year I ask myself. What does that mean? We already know there continues to be far too many c/sections happening in this country. We are aware that one of every three births is a c/section. I live in New Orleans and the rate of c/section here in my state exceeds FORTY percent!!! This really is a crime against women IMO. And we are VERY aware that this is happening. What are we doing to prevent this??
More than the high C/section rates, I am constantly amazed at the false information women are given to justify c/sections when they simply are NOT required. Just today I spoke with a woman who is hoping to find a provider who will support her decision to have a VBAC. She is fighting an uphill battle here in New Orleans. One that she would not be fighting if she had not been misled during her second birth.
Here is her story…
At 18 years old, she gave birth to her first child. During that labor she received an epidural. She ended up having a forceps delivery and a 3rd degree laceration. She was pregnant three years later with her second child. In spite of the fact that she easily had TWENTY childbearing years left, her OB suggested that a scheduled c/section would be safest/easier because of the “difficulty” of her first birth. And at the age of 21, easily influenced by her doctor, she agreed and scheduled her c/section. Now she sits with me for a consultation at the age of 31 and learns that a decision she made 10 years ago is going to have a HUGE impact on her ability to have a normal birth today. As I listened to her story I wanted to scream!!!
I could go into a long dissertation about what defines “difficult”; other than the third degree she didn’t recall anything too difficult. Nothing was ever wrong with the baby who weighed in at 7# 13 ounces. As I mentioned to her… I have seen smaller women give birth to much larger babies. Her second baby, the c/section baby… was only six pounds. And she agreed that recovery from that third degree was a LOT easier than recovery from that cesarean. I could go on and on about the many things that happened during her labor that could have increased her risk of the third degree laceration: purple pushing, forceps, and epidural, rushing to birth, lithotomy position and more. Instead I will leave all that for another day.
What I do want to say is this, whether women know it or not… The Birth Plan Myth as I call it, is alive and well. The stories THEY tell women, the lies and the manipulation THEY do, and the trickery THEY pulled on her, they continue to use today. Women are continuing to be manipulated into decisions that are not the best for themselves based on some ulterior motive of the OBs. We can speculate all day about what motivates them to manipulate. Instead of doing that, I just want to confirm with you that it happens.
In case you need convincing… Let me assure you, with faith and conviction that similar shit is still happening today. Earlier this week, I received an email from a mother concerned because her daughter’s doctor was suggesting an induction five days BEFORE her due date. NOTHING was wrong with the baby. And other than a case of TOBP (tired of being pregnant) nothing was wrong with the mother. She was a primiparous woman with a high closed cervix. There was NOT a medical indication for the induction and many indications that an induction would be unsuccessful. She was in fact twice as likely to end up with a cesarean. The mother reluctantly accepted her daughter’s wishes and they went in for the induction. I received an email from the mother. It was not a great experience. I will leave it at that.
It angers me, saddens me, frustrates me and then it inspires me to keep on doing what I am doing. Those of us who want birth justice, who want birth freedom, who want women to birth safely in their own way… we must continue to fight. As the song goes… “We who believe in freedom cannot rest.” And those of us who believe in birth freedom must stay vigilant and continue to fight. As we move through April, let’s not simply call this Cesarean Awareness Month. Let’s make this cesarean PREVENTION month. The fight continues!
Join me for the continuation of The Birth Plan Myth 6-part webinar series. Part II gets under way Thursday, April 10, 2014. Over the course of two calls, I will be discussing the most common hospital interventions, what they are, why they are used, and what you can do to prevent them and to minimize risks if they become necessary. Learn which interventions can cause or help prevent an cesarean. The series continues THURSDAY. Learn more and register.