Delivering a baby is not a medical emergency. Giving birth to a child does not require surgical intervention. Humans have been giving birth for thousands of years, sometimes in homes, fields, trains, and the back seat of taxi cabs. Regular people like family members, neighbors, and firefighters have stepped in to assist at the moment of birth. Midwives have been quietly and calmly delivering babies for forever. It’s not a crisis.
I say this because here in south Florida the rate of C-section deliveries (as of July 2022) is an astounding 85%.
It’s important to interview your OB/GYN well in advance of hiring them to discover their point of view on delivering their patient’s babies. Listen closely and look for their track record, especially and particularly if you are in the camp of having a natural delivery. If you do not do your homework here, you might find yourself being talked into a c section on delivery day and wake up a month later feeling betrayed. I’m not making this up, I have seen it in my office many times when patients express their dismay at having been coerced into a surgical delivery when they clearly wanted a natural delivery.
There are several versions of a natural delivery.
There’s waiting until the baby is ready and willing to move down the birth canal and knock at the exit door. That is then followed by the natural process of breaking water, dilation, contractions, and pushing its way into the world on their own.
There is also induction of labor, where the baby is encouraged to move along the birthing process with drugs and then allowed to moved through the birth canal on their own.
Now there are, of course, situations that do require medical intervention in childbirth. I suggest seeing a neonatal specialist in conjunction, at the same time, as one’s OB/GYN. This cannot be stressed enough. Usually seen beginning in the 2nd trimester, the neonatal specialist can look at the growing baby in detail and check for vital and critical developmental issues. What we want here is the all clear for a healthy developing baby. It is important to continue this monitoring throughout the pregnancy to check for umbilical cord issues, for example, or any other flags that might call for surgical intervention at childbirth. Barring any medical flags, however, natural childbirth remains the main option.
Now, of course, things develop and evolve. Elevated blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and any pre-existing health concerns of the mother might be cause for concern for the pressures of laborious childbirth. And we never know how labor is going to go until we are in it. So let’s keep that in mind here as well.
The surgical intervention of childbirth with a c-section has its place in life saving and emergency mitigation, of course. The point I am seeking to make here is that it is often over prescribed, sometimes to the extreme.
C-sections tend to serve the purpose of convenience for the business side of delivering babies. Some practitioners recommend scheduling the delivery of a child at 36 weeks, for example, when maybe that particular baby would do better with full gestational 40 weeks. It is impossible for an OB/GYN to know that 36 weeks is enough time for that particular child. Making an assumption like that potentially takes away a month of in-utero development for that baby for the sake of convenience and scheduling.
I get it, the days of drs being called to the hospital to deliver a baby in the middle of the night is not sustainable when you have 100 patients on the roster. This is why it’s so vitally important to formulate and choose your birth plan well in advance. We all know that we plan, and then life happens. Still, it’s worth the effort to put together a team that matches our values and how we feel about life. For example, your baby chooses its own birth date vs your obstetrician’s scheduling staff choosing your child’s birth date. For some, it doesn’t matter. For others, its a huge part of that child’s self-determination to choose the moment of its first breath. To them, it matters almost more than anything.
So whether you are a purist and want your unborn child to choose its own destiny. Or you’re super busy and want to squeeze childbirth between finalizing that business presentation and your OB’s summer vacation. Either way or someplace in between those two perspectives, do your homework and due diligence – ask questions. Seek a neonatal specialist to know, as best possible, what your true birthing options are for the safety of both your child and yourself. Know where your OB stands with c-sections. Check their c-sections rates of delivery so that your wants and needs are fulfilled the day of delivery. If they have an 85% c-section delivery rate, it might not be reasonable to expect that you will not be a c-section patient as well. Keep it real. No one wants to feel like they were duped into doing one thing thinking they were getting another.
Although in most countries c-sections are performed only when certain, specific criteria are met. That’s not the case in the US, at least not in S Fla. My point to make here is simply to have you know that unless you seek out and sometimes fight for having natural childbirth, you can wind up part of the 85% c-section population.
If you’re among those that seek out a c-section, you wont have any trouble finding what you seek. For the rest of us, interview midwives, seek out that unicorn OB/GYN, and absolutely get monitored by a neonatal specialist. And don’t be afraid of giving birth in the back of an Uber assisted by a firefighter. That can be a great story to tell of someone’s first breath of life!
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