Cesarean sections make up nearly one-third of all deliveries in the United States-twice as high as recommended by the World Health Organization. African American women have the highest c-section rate of any group. The risk of death following c-sections is more than three times higher than for vaginal births.
Last week, the National Institutes of Health met to discuss that very topic, and came to the conclusion that hospitals should lift any bans on VBAC. Web MD covered the panel discussion and suggests that women, given the option, can have a successful vaginal delivery after a prior c-section.
About 75% of women succeed in having a vaginal delivery after previous cesarean delivery, assuming that it's not a multiple birth, that the baby is in the normal position, and that their previous C-section required only a single incision.
My daughter Adriana was born, much to my chagrin, via c-section after induction. Though my birth plan centered around the mantra, "Squat down, Squeeze it out, Wrap it up, Take it home," my body had other ideas. A few weeks after Adriana was born, I had the privilege of speaking at the March of Dimes National Communications Advisory Council Health Issues Luncheon, "Cesarean Section: Consumer Preference or Medical Necessity?" moderated by Gretchen Carlson. The other mothers I met that day all seemed to have some sense of regret about not having given birth vaginally, yet the doctors present suggested that scheduled (non-emergency) c-sections seemed to be growing in frequency. Have you had a c-section or a VBAC? Did your doctor address any concerns you had and how safe do you feel each procedure to be? Leave your thoughts and stories in the comments!
Photo courtesy of the author, who is shown prepped for her c-section at Columbia Presbyterian in New York, NY.