Expectant mothers and their families commonly do not understand the risks to themselves and their babies from routine interventions. Even the electronic fetal monitor that healthy women are often continuously attached to in labor leads to many unneeded surgical deliveries. Too many women are agreeing to have an induced labor, epidurals, episiotomy (vaginal incision), and cesarean sections according to a Childbirth Connection survey, discussed in Consumer Reports News.1 All procedures have their proper place but surprisingly many invasive procedures are performed without being appropriate for the situation. One intervention leads to the next which we call the “cascade of interventions” and leads often to more complications and “unnec-cesareans”.
Vaginal births after cesarean (VBAC) may not be being offered to many women or may be discouraged by their doctors or hospitals. The National Institute of Health (NIH) is very concerned about the low percentage of VBACs in the U.S. Women who have had one or maybe even two previous cesareans may be candidates for a vaginal birth.
If you are pregnant, recommended steps for safe delivery and post-birth care for you and your newborn are:
- Taking childbirth education classes
- Being proactive to ask your obstetrician, midwife and nurses questions
- Informing your provider of your desires for labor and birth prenatally.
- Use safe techniques such as warm showers or baths, massage, music, aromatherapy before use riskier narcotics and epidurals.
- If you have had a previous cesarean or two read the NIH consensus on VBAC and bring it to your next visit to discuss with your health care provider.
- Holding your naked newborn on your skin after birth for a full hour without interruptions (including not weighing the baby) unless necessary to enhance bonding and make breastfeeding easier
- Breastfeed your newborn as soon as possible after birth.
- Pregnant? Watch out for unnecessary c-sections and other questionable medical procedures. (2013, May 8.) Consumer Reports News. Retrieved from
- NIH Conference. NIH Consensus Development Conference Statement on Vaginal Birth After Cesarean: New Insights (2010, March). Retrieved from https://consensus.nih.gov/2010/images/vbac/vbac_statement.pdf