With the c-section rate in the United States sharply increasing over the past decade researchers at Yale were interested in pinpointing exactly why this was happening. Although I didn’t need a big research study to know what the problem was, and their study proved it to me!
Big rises in the state of Connecticut where Yale resides, as well as Rhode Island their neighboring state prompted the original research. In fact after reading the study, I am happy to say one of the high risk Doctors I saw in my third trimester for all the pregnancy complications I was having was a co-author of the study!
Anyways, in the study, it was mainly cited that the number of repeat cesarean sections taking place is a reason for the sharp increase in the surgical deliver numbers. But it is not as cut and dry as the study makes it sound.
With the increase in repeat c-sections is a decrease in the number of VBAC or vaginal birth after cesarean‘s that are taking place, but these are not by choice. In fact 1 out of every 3 hospitals that offer labor and deliver services in this country have completely banned VBAC altogether in recent years. Meaning a large portion of these women are not actually opting to have major surgery to deliver a second, or third time… but because of policy at hospitals, they are forced into surgical deliveries.
Despite speculation that the decreasing use of forceps and vacuum-assisted vaginal delivery have led to increasing cesarean delivery rates, our data shows that since 2003 the increase in cesarean for labor arrest disorders was manifested in the first stage of labor prior to full dilation when forceps or vacuum are not appropriate.” In addition, maternal-choice cesarean births, often cited as another factor, contributed only a small proportion (8%) to the total increase in primary cesarean delivery in the study.
Something again I knew already. Most mothers are not making the choice to have a c-section with little or no medical reasons.
VBAC access certainly is creating a larger problem for women all over the country for sure!
Do you know if your local hospital allows VBAC?
photo: flickr.com/Kelly Sue