When All Options Are Gone

© moodboard/Corbis

With Caesarean births in the news so much recently, I started thinking to myself about the options women have after they give birth via Caesarean, especially if they have had more than one, like I have.

I am fortunate enough to have prospective providers who will work with me in my care and the choices for the childbirth I would like — just like all women should have when it comes to prenatal care. But what about the women across the country that do not have a voice?

In recent months, I have been witness to several discussions on internet forums of women from all over the country, many of them looking for the option of vaginal birth after Caesarean (VBAC), but coming up empty-handed in the area they live in — either because the closest doctor who will allow VBAC is not covered by their insurance, or the local hospitals have banned the act of giving birth naturally with a previous uterine scar.

It got me thinking about this: When there are no other options, what happens to these women? Sadly, the answer is pretty cut and dry. They are forced to undergo a Caesarean section again, when it is not medically necessary or even wanted in the case of the mother. Sounds like a human rights violation, considering this is not something they wish to take part in.

It is estimated across the country that one out of every three hospitals that have a labor and delivery unit have banned a woman from giving birth vaginally — a normal process that women’s bodies are built and trained to do — after having a Caesarean section. And with over one million babies being born via Caesarean section annually, that is a lot of women being left with absolutely no options.

When there are no options at all for women, some are taking things into their own hands, like a woman I spoke to earlier in the year who planned to have an unassisted birth at home because her local hospitals had banned VBAC and it was illegal for a midwife to attend her delivery in her state because of outdated birthing laws.

Despite new ACOG recommendations, it sounds like we are dealing with the medical community of the 1900s! Well it’s 2010 and now I am faced with dealing with this issue myself because I have had two previous Caesarean births. It makes me angry as a woman and a mother!