Are vaginal deliveries now 'out'

It seems everyone (pregnant) I know is getting ‘c’ sections. Is this somehow better then vaginal birth for the mom? for the child? Is either vaginal or c-section worse for one or the other? Are vaginal births going away?

The increasing incidence of Caesareans in Australia has given rise to the description that women are becoming “too posh to push”.

don’t have a cite, but c sections are really getting popular among the urban Chinese.

I think there are some cases where women (and doctors) are scheduling c-sections because they want to be able to plan the delivery better (i.e., the mother has to get back to work by a certain date, so she schedules the date of her delivery by c-section in order to meet her deadline).

I think there are also more c-sections being performed, though, because doctors can maybe diagnose problems sooner and more accurately than in the past. They can now perform a c-section more safely than they used to be able to, so they go ahead and do that sooner than they would have in the past. That’s total conjecture and not based on anything other than a WAG, though.

When I had my baby, I really, really, really did NOT want to have a c-section. When it came down to it, though, and my baby’s heart rate was bottoming out every time I pushed (even in different positions) and when the heart rate was slower and slower to come back to normal, I didn’t even blink when they told me they recommended an emergency c-section. It turns out his cord was wrapped around his shoulder and his neck. He was (and is) a beautiful, healthy boy.

I recall reading that C sections are more common the better the insurance a woman has. The indication seemed to be that ob/gyns would tend towards ordering a c-section if they thought their patients insurance would cover it.

So, these vaginal deliveries–do they come UPS or Federal Express? And, uh, anybody got an order form?

The c-section rate “Should” be, medically speaking, at 15% of births. This indicates to world health organizations that women are getting medical care before and at birth, but that c-sections are not being used where they are not warranted. Cite.

There are good reasons for a c-section in some cases. As mentioned, fetal distress, low-lying placenta, prolonged labor, infection and others. However, even with an elective c-section with no heath problems, a mother increases the chance of placenta previa, low-lying placenta or placenta abrupta in her future pregnancies. Add to this the risks of anasthesia, for both mother and baby, a longer recovery time for the mother (during which it’s harder for her to care for the newborn), and an increase in uterine infections, blood cluts including death by pulmonary embolus (blood clot to the lung), neonate respitatory distress for both elective and medically needed c-sections (they think that be squeezed through the birth canal both squishes out all that amniotic fluid and stresses the lungs in a good way - whatever the mechanism, c-sectioned babies are more prone to lung problems, even if they’re term deliveries.) Maternal death is 3 to 7 times higher for c-sections than for vaginal deliveries. Cite. I just don’t think there’s justification yet for making c-sections a choice outside of medical need.

Rates vary very widely by country, but I can’t find a good single chart of c-section rates. My Google-fu is weak today. They go from as low a 0% in rural Chad and Madagascar to the oft-quoted 70% in Brazil (mostly elective). The US is currently around 23%. Australia is as high as 40%. Cite. , which is a huge increase fron 1994-5 rates, when it was down around 17%.

So yes, your perception is valid: more women around you are having c-sections, often for non-medical reasons, which may indicate that vaginal birth is “out”. But c-section birth is not as safe for baby or mother.

Being in the insurance billing biz, I can tell you that most health insurances I’ve encountered covers both types of delivery. C-sections are more expensive and require a longer hospital stay.

I recall reading some articles saying that C-sections were becoming popular with ob/gyns because they were more profitable. When I attended birthing classes with my wife (tres moderne!) they very much encouraged natural deliveries, but said C-sections were very good and appropriate in some cases. Such as my wife’s 11-hour delivery. Frankly, I think in her case everyone just got tired of waiting and decided to hell with it, let’s just cut and yank. I wouldn’t know, I feel asleep – I’m still catching hell for that.

I think the point was that in American women without or with marginal health care coverage the C-section rate was much, much lower. I don’t know if they normalized the data to take into account that women without healthcare are more likely to be younger mothers.

11 hour delivery or labor. For labor, that’s actually on the shortish side, particularly if it was her first child.

My OB/GYN is a responsible physician and wouldn’t perform a major surgery just for the money.

I hope that most wouldn’t.

I had two vag deliveries, and almost everyone on the floor did as well.

My best friend has had 3 c-sections, but it’s because her first baby presented frank breech (and wouldn’t turn, no matter what they tried), the second had the cord around his neck, and the third just wasn’t coming after almost an entire day. She hated having c-sections but she had no choice.

If it’s medically necessary, then great. But ask any woman who has had a c-section which method of delivery she would prefer. The ones I know would never opt for a c-section if they had a choice. It is a major surgery requiring significant recovery time.

I’ve encountered several OBs who are happy and eager to schedule elective C-sections, because they can schedule them. None of this three a.m. on a Saturday morning delivery stuff, but a nice, convenient 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Also, inductions seem to be more common now, and inducing labor increases the likelihood that a C-section will be necessary. I was warned about this possibility when I was induced for my last delivery (but I was three frigging weeks overdue, so they could’ve pulled that kid out through my left nostril and I wouldn’t have cared, by then).

I’ve encountered many first-time mothers-to-be that are so scared of labor that they opt for C-sections. After you sit there for nine months watching “A Baby Story” and the other birth shows, where women are screaming and howling and climbing the walls during labor, it sort of rattles you, and you start thinking, “Holy cats, I am so not doing that! Knock me out, cut me open, and wake me when it’s over.” And of course, when you’re pregnant, every mother you meet will tell you about her awful, 39-hour labor, with all the graphic details.

I have never even heard of a mother who opted for an elective C-section after a vaginal birth. But once you’ve had a C, chances are higher that any subsequent births will also be sections. It weakens the uterus, and increases the risk of uterine rupture. VBAC (vaginal birth after Caesarian) is possible, but some OBs (and some mothers) are skittish about it.

And we should point out that VBAC is only possible with the newer techniwue of transverse incisions (“bikini cuts”). There are cases where this type of incision is impossible, and so VBAC is not an option. For these women, “once a ceasarian, always a ceasarian” is still true.

I’m one of these women. I needed an emergency c-section at only 23 weeks, and the baby was (while developmentally appropriate) simply too small to do a transverse cut. Only later in pregnancy does the baby get big enough to stretch the bottom of the uterus enough to permit a transverse cut and removal. My uterus was only stretched enough to get her out along its length, because the pregnancy was so early. So they did a “bikini cut” on the skin, but a second, lateral, cut along the uterus. I cannot even attempt a vaginal if I have another baby - the uterus will simply rupture if I go into labor. We have to schedule a c-section for two weeks prior to the due date, and be within driving distance of a hospital at all times in the last trimester, just in case I go into labor early.

I’ll take “Things You Don’t Want to Hear From Your Doctor for $500, Alex!” :rolleyes:

That makes me so angry. How could anyone want to miss the birth of their child? Oh, and I think they figured out that knocking women out before the birth contributed to post-partum depression. Besides, I think you are awake during a c-section.

I had very little pain. There’s this new invention, it’s called an epidural. I wasn’t in pain but I was still awake and aware and able to push.

Labor is scarier than surgery? Not in my book.

I thought the incidence of C-section deliveries was on the rise because doctors are becoming increasingly nervous about malpractice suits. Sorry, no cite. Some OB-Gyns in my area have even stopped doing deliveries altogether, becoming merely “Gyns” I suppose.

Is it true that complications (perceived or otherwise) are more common in vaginal deliveries while C-Sections, although classified as major surgery, may be accompanied by fewer?

Outside of pain, I had thought that were other considerations–like I have heard that due to distention in a vaginal birth, some women leak urine ever after?

But more on topic: While male, I would think that the important thing in birth is your baby–I don’t see any reason why suffering pain somehow makes your baby any better. And if he loves you, I would think that he would rather that you hadn’t had to suffer excess pain wherever possible (several years down the road of course.)

VBACs are becoming less common in areas that aren’t big cities, so that may be contributing to it. My doctor, who I must say did not rush into a c-section with my first even though it was a Friday night, wouldn’t let me do a VBAC because the local hospital isn’t really prepared to deal with some of the worst things that can happen with them, if it happens at, say, 2am. (Considering the size of the babies that I produce, a VBAC probably wouldn’t have been too hot an idea anyway; my first was over 10 lbs. and turned over wrong, thus the c-section. The second was done 10 days early, but was over 9 lbs anyway.) Anyway, hospitals have been becoming less willing to do VBACs over the past several years.

I was awake during my c-sections, so was everyone I know.

I don’t really understand why anyone would have an elective c-section, but it does seem to be getting more common too. I think maybe we’ve got a lot of people now who don’t like the lack of control that Nature gave us, and want to exert more control over the birth.

Does anyone know people who go too far the other way? I knew a woman who was so opposed to a c-section that she was in labor for a week before she finally consented, and she said she considered a c-section to be “the end of the world.” Personally, I prefer a live baby born by c-section to a dead one delivered in the proper manner.

Yes, urine incontinence is one possible side effect of vaginal birth, though it’s not very common. It can usually be helped by simple, non-invasive Kegel exercises.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying c-sections are the end of the world, but they are much riskier, both for the baby and the mother, and they are certainly not painless - the procedure is, but the recovery afterwards is a bitch.

Oh. one other negative to c-sections: they do make breastfeeding tricker for the first critical weeks. The prolactin doesn’t kick in as effectively, and the abdominal pain and tenderness, coupled with post-surgical weakness due to narcotic painkillers and the healing process, make putting your baby to breast an exhausting task. It’s by no means impossible, but it’s harder. While I don’t have any data on this, I hate to think that women choosing c-sections for non-medical reasons may be setting themselves up for breastfeeding failure.

I was terrified of it all. I had a c-section because, I believe, the doctor was tired of waiting. Well, I had been on a high dose of pitocin for hours and never dilated beyond 8 cm, but we could have waited longer I guess. But the minute they suggested a c-section I was so there. I was terrified of pushing, afraid of the pain when they cut back on the epidural, terrifed of the grossness and the effort. But, I was also terrified of the tugging I could feel during the c-section too and they sedated me, I got scared of the sedation and they knocked me out - so yes I was asleep during the c-section. And resentful of being woken to meet my son.

Believe it or not, I later went through some heavy duty fertility treatments to try and do it again. Now I’m just grateful it didn’t work.