CBS News HealthWatch 4/9/09: Giving Birth Without A C-Section Reporting
Dr. Holly Phillips NEW YORK (CBS) ―
More than 30 percent of American babies are born via C-section.
In many cases, the procedure is medically necessary and planned well in advance. But for women hoping to avoid an unplanned C-section, one group of doctors is helping them meet their needs.
“I was in a lot of pain,” Kate Sunbury said. “Breast-feeding was very difficult, because the baby would kind of glide across the scar.”
Sunbury delivered her first little girl by C-section, but when it came time to deliver her second, she hoped to avoid surgery.
“A lot of people forget a C-section is major surgery,” Sunbury says. “It was really hard for me.”
Sunbury sought out the doctors at St. Vincent’s Village Obstetrics, who pride themselves on an extremely low C-section rate and aim to return to a more natural birth process.
“We rarely induce labor, we listen closely to our patients in terms of what they want in their birth plans, and we let them go through labor on their own,” St. Vincent’s Dr. Jaqueline Worth says.
“They were very unhurried with me,” Sunbury says. “It was about 48 hours, but we did it.”
Between 1996 and 2006, C-section rates increased 46 percent.
Now, however, a growing number of women are expressing a desire to get back to birth the natural way, and for them, communication with their doctor is the key.
“One of the best compliments we’ve received is somebody telling us, ‘you know doctor, I feel like I don’t even need my birth plan anymore’,” Dr. George Mussalli, of St. Vincent’s, says. “And that really is true, because they feel well-respected and well-communicated with.”
Dr. Worth says that – if the labor requires it – she used pain medication, inducing agents, or any surgical care necessary. However, she aims for the lowest level of intervention possible.
“Nature is what it is,” Dr. Worth says. ‘You work with the patient, and you make decisions together.”
“I never felt like myself or the baby were in any danger,” Sunbury says. “They monitored the baby, and me.”
Sunbury is grateful that both of her children were delivered safely, but says her non-surgical birth was something special.
“You know, I felt like the experience for all of us was really a bonding kind of moment,” Sunbury says.
In any practice, it is not possible to avoid all unplanned C-sections.
Reasons for performing C-sections include problems with the placenta or umbilical cord, if the baby shows signs of distress, or if the baby is too large to be delivered vaginally.
Open communication with your doctor is most important for a good birth experience