I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m very much looking forward to my planned C-section this summer. The C-section I had during my first pregnancy was unplanned and due to a mismatched head/pelvis situation. The one I’ll have this time is because my pelvis has not grown in the interim, and, more importantly, because the hospital in the town where I live isn’t certified to do VBACs.
That’s fine with me since all I care about is my baby arriving healthy and me surviving the experience. There are also other advantages to Caesarean deliveries, and now, as it turns out, there’s yet another upside to the planned C-section: high satisfaction rates among moms who experience them.
C-sections increased 53 percent from 1996 to 2008 (the most recent data available), and while the trend has alarmed many doctors and public health officials, experts say it’s also a sign that new mothers’ satisfaction is now a formidable consideration in birthing decisions.
The issue of emotional well-being was studied by doctors at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, and they found that negative birth experiences have been linked to postpartum depression, which affects one in 10 women.
The findings, published recently in the American Journal of Perinatology, found that those who planned C-sections were “much more satisfied with their experiences than those who planned vaginal births, partly because more than a quarter of the latter group ended up with unplanned cesareans.”
“There is not enough evidence that we should offer everyone a C-section; we’re not at that point,” said Dr. Joan Blomquist, an obstetrician-gynecologist at GBMC. “But for the right patient, it might be the right decision. At least we need to make sure they understand all the possibilities, that they don’t have unrealistic goals.”
The study looked at 160 women planning vaginal deliveries and 44 planning C-sections. Those planning the latter reported higher satisfaction and fulfillment, lower distress and difficulty, and a more overall favorable experience than women who planned vaginal births.
Of course, not a few doctors will argue that the change in attitude is not good news for women who don’t need C-sections, as the surgery is potentially risky if it’s for non-medical reasons.
Do you feel differently about planned C-sections knowing they carry such a high satisfaction rate?