Cesarean Awareness May Make a Difference in Your Delivery
April 4, 2016
Did you know that one in three women in the United States who gives birth does so by cesarean section (or C-section)?1 According to an international study published in 2010 by the World Health Organization, the United States ranked third in the world, only behind China and Brazil, for the most unnecessary c-sections.2
April is Cesarean Awareness Month so there’s no better time to learn more about when cesareans may be necessary and why they are quickly growing in frequency in the U.S.
Cesarean Awareness Month was created by the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN). As a nonprofit, ICAN’s mission is to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary C-sections through education; support women through C-section recovery; and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cesarean, often referred to as VBAC. While ICAN’s vision is to reduce the number of unnecessary or elective C-sections, it realizes that when necessary a C-section can be a lifesaving procedure for both mother and baby.2
Why A C-Section May Be Necessary
There are many scenarios where cesarean sections may be needed. They include but are not limited to:
- Issues with the Placenta – These include situations where the placenta separates before the birth (abruption) or where the placenta covers the cervix (placenta previa).4
- Prolapsed Cord – a condition where the umbilical cord comes down before the baby.4
- Fetal Malpresentation – when the baby is in a breech, transverse or asynclitic position.4
- Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD) – a condition where the baby’s head is too large to fit through the mother’s pelvis.4
- Maternal Medical Conditions – Herpes lesions, severe hypertension and diabetes can cause fetal distress, making a C-section necessary.4
Is A C-Section A Bad Thing?
As mentioned previously, a C-section can be a lifesaving technique when necessary. However, there are risks that come with having a C-section. As with any major abdominal surgery, mothers are at risk of post-operative infection, complications from anesthesia, injury to organs, and blood clots. C-sections can also put mothers at risk for infertility and placental complications in future pregnancies.
Reduce Your Risk of Needing A C-Section
While there is no way to totally eliminate the possibility that a C-section may be necessary, there are a few ways to reduce your risk. It’s important to be educated on your options. Take Lamaze and childbirth education class to get started. Consider hiring a doula for labor support, and choose both a health care provider and center with low cesarean rates.
Be up front with your doctor or midwife if vaginal birth is important to you, and let your delivery team know that you want to let labor start on its own if possible. Remember that as the patient, it is always acceptable for you to question a cesarean if you and your baby are in no immediate danger.
Expert Advice on Nutrition
It’s important that you consult with your doctor about the possibility of a C-section, and what you can do to reduce your risks. While prenatal nutrition alone can’t prevent you from needing a C-section, it can help keep your body primed for pregnancy. While a balanced diet is preferred, some women may have trouble meeting their daily recommended intakes for certain vitamins and minerals. Talk to your doctor to see if a prenatal vitamin may be right for you to help fill nutritional gaps. Prenate® Vitamins can help support mother and baby throughout pregnancy and through labor and delivery.