Since 1990, the rate of births by Cesarean section (C-section) has been on the rise. There are many circumstances when C-sections are necessary, such as if the baby is in breech or a vaginal birth would put the mother’s health at risk.
However, the rate of elective – as well as unnecessary – C-sections is also higher than usual. In 2018, 31.9% of births involved a C-section, and 25.9% of those were low-risk pregnancies or births. If these mothers do not need a C-section, then why are the rates so high?
Are doctors pressuring mothers into C-sections?
A 2015 report from PBS determined doctors may be pressuring mothers into getting C-sections, even when they do not need them. This could be one of the reasons behind the increased rate of C-sections. However, this news likely leaves you wondering: why?
Not all doctors are the same. Even so, in many cases, doctors tend to prefer births by C-section because they:
- Have more control over a surgery than a vaginal birth; and
- In turn, can reduce their liability of facing legal issues and birth injury lawsuits.
These are not good reasons to arrange a C-section, especially if mothers do not need them.
How can you prevent an unnecessary C-section?
A C-section can provide a safe delivery in many medically necessary cases. On the other hand, when they are not necessary, they can increase the risk of injury for both mothers and their babies.
There are a few steps you can take to avoid pressure from doctors and ensure you do not face the risk of an injury:
- Find the right doctor for you: You can change doctors at any time during your pregnancy. After all, the doctor and hospital you choose for your birth can make a big difference. Although this might be stressful, you want to ensure you are on the same page as your doctor regarding your birth and health.
- Obtain support: Have your spouse or another trusted family member attend the prenatal visits – as well as the birth – with you. This is another person who can advocate for you. Professional doulas can also provide additional support to mothers during childbirth.
- Get the facts: An emergency C-section might be necessary. This can be frightening and overwhelming, but you must understand your circumstances and get all of the details you need from your doctor in these cases.
You should not be afraid of a C-section, but you should ensure that a C-section is medically necessary before you move forward.