• How Can I Avoid A C/Section

    on Aug 9th, 2017

How Can I Avoid A Cesarean Section?

Cesarean section (C/section) is the surgical delivery of a newborn which is indicated under a number of conditions including: placenta previa, placenta accreta, vasa previa, active herpes outbreak, fetal macrosomia in a diabetic mother (estimated fetal weight over 4500 gms), breach presentation (although babies can deliver vaginally from the breach position, they are at greater risk for injury, so most Obstetricians recommend C/section when the baby is breach), and a host of other more rare indications.  Most pregnant women presenting in labor with low risk pregnancies can expect to have a vaginal delivery 80-90% of the time.  (Indications for C/section in labor include failure to progress – i.e. the cervix stops dilating despite adequate labor, fetal distress from a placental or cord problem, or active hemorrhage). 

Over the last 2 decades the rate of C/sections in the U.S. has steadily been increasing for a variety of reasons including: adherence to a strict labor progression pattern, fear of malpractice lawsuits by obstetricians when labor is not progressing as smoothly as everyone would like, induction of labor when the cervix is not ready, moms having other high risk medical conditions, “big babies,” apparent fetal intolerance of labor (the continuous fetal heart rate monitor shows suspicious dips), prolonged labor, very busy hospital, and other reasons including maternal request.  Unfortunately, this increase in C/sections has led to more problems: higher risk of infection and hemorrhage, post-operative scarring which can lead to chronic pain, up to 90% risk of having another c/section in the future, increased hospital stays with increased expenses, and even a rise in maternal deaths.

This trend has been getting a lot of attention due to the overall increase in maternal deaths noted in the United States over the last several years.  Investigators in California (California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative – CMQCC) have been active in researching methods for safer deliveries.  The CMQCC recommends that each hospital review their obstetrical practices including the need to decrease unnecessary c/sections.  Through these efforts the maternal mortality rate (number of women dying due to a pregnancy complication) in California has been decreasing over the last several years, even as it has been increasing in the rest of the country.

Things you can do to help avoid having an unwanted C/section include:  know the C/section rates of the hospital you are interested in, ( www.ConsumerReports.org/health/hospital/rating - but this only tells you about the average rate for the hospital, not the individual doctor), ask your obstetrician what their C/section rate is, and don’t rush to the hospital when the contractions start unless there are other problems such as bleeding, decreased fetal movement or ruptured membranes.  If this is your first baby, early labor can last many hours.

The doctors at the Women’s Health Center have a low C/section rate because we monitor labor very closely and do not rush to deliver, intervening only when necessary to insure a healthy baby and mother. 

Please call for an appointment if you have other questions regarding pregnancy or delivery by calling 714-378-5606 or going to our website: www.thewomenshealthcenter.com .

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Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Phone: 714-462-1348
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