C- Sections: Are They Always Necessary? Answers from real moms

Recently, we got a message from a Havah mama asking if we could post  her question anonymously. She’s pregnant with her first baby and has some c-section concerns: “I’m scared to ask this, but do you sometimes think doctors push c-sections unnecessarily? I worry that I’ll get suckered into a section when I don’t need one and I’ve heard such horror stories!”

We knew this topic would generate a lot of passionate responses so we turned to our Tribe to ask them for their thoughts on this topic. Here are their thoughts:

  1. I think that it happens. I carefully picked a practice that was known to have lower intervention rates. I took a very intensive Bradley Method birthing class that helped me understand the big picture. Plus, having a doula is very highly correlated with less unnecessary interventions.
  2. Ask your OB for their c-section stats! You can change your OB up until delivery if you think yours isn’t the right fit. It can be harder to find one that accepts late transfers. I switched at 18 weeks and I’m so happy I did.
  3. I used  a doula who helped me navigate and push in different positions, which definitely helped prevent a c-section. If she wouldn’t have been there suggesting some creative options, I think my doctor would have pushed for a c-section. I highly recommend using a doula if you can.
  4. Look at hospital c-section rates but make sure to understand them. Some hospitals have higher rates but because they are the only hospitals in their areas that schedule elective c-sections, not because they push for it. Do your research!
  5. Definitely--OB/GYNs are trained to be surgeons.
  6. If your doctor jokes about only delivering on Mondays and Thursdays, believe them! That’s a c-section-pushing doctor! Midwives can’t do sections, so they’re more likely to work with you. A practice with both midwives and obstetricians might work well for you.
  7. Yes. I’m one of the statistics. My first birth was a totally unnecessary c-section.
  8. Doula, doula, doula! Or...have a home-birth. 
  9. It’s either that or really long labors (which is doable), tearing badly or putting yourself in danger.
  10. Always ask why they want to do a c-section! If labor is just slow and the baby is fine, say no!
  11. If you have a good doctor that you’re comfortable with, you shouldn’t be worried. Do your research about the practice rates and the doctor! Also, if you end up with a c-section, remember that it saved you and your baby. There’s no reason to feel guilty, although that’s a normal thing to feel!
  12. One of the main things I learned in my birthing classes was to ASK why.
  13. Doulas are the best advocates but if you can’t afford one, it’s tough.
  14. They totally have a financial bias to push c-sections. Get a good doula and be an advocate for yourself! That’s why women need to fight so hard for VBACs...they use scare tactics rather than facts.
  15. It really depends on where you give birth. Have someone with you who will stand up for you!!
  16. This is one of my greatest fears and I’m not even trying to get pregnant yet.
  17. It definitely happens...if the doctor is nervous or if it’s taking too long...get an advocate!
  18. You need to feel comfortable with your OB/GYN. When I got pregnant with my first, the first thing I asked was if they push for cs-ections. I was, and still am, terrified of being cut open while awake. They assured me that they always prefer pushing over c-sections, which made me feel so much better. I ended up needing an emergency c-section, but I was able to attempt to push for a couple of hours on the off chance that she would be able to come out that way. For my second baby, she was a scheduled c-section but I ended up going into labor early and my doctor actually gave me the option of trying to push since she was small and the risks of a VBAC in this situation were very low, so I ended up pushing. So, find yourself a doctor that you are comfortable with and who understands your worries and fears. If you aren’t completely comfortable with what they say, or you feel like they wont respect your wishes, or won’t give you honest/straightforward answers regarding delivery, find a new doctor. NEVER let your doctor push you into doing something you aren’t comfortable with, unless it's for medical purposes!
  19. C-section rates are incredibly incredibly high in this country compared to others, and there is nothing in our water to explain the difference.
  20. Definitely. At some point, there were published statistics stating that the c-section rate was higher on Wednesdays than any other day of the week. Do the math, doctors don't have to do rounds on the weekend if you have a section on Wednesday, while if they let you labor naturally for hours more and drag on into Thursday, they can't play golf on Friday. But no doctor is going to tell you that and the c-section rate for first babies in this country is ridiculously high--presumably because first babies take longer to come out and moms know nothing about the process. Doctors are people and regardless of their plans, they can wake up in a bad mood or have a short temper on the day your baby chooses to be born. The best c-section prevention you can have for yourself is education. Get to know the process of birthing, get a birthing education class, acclimate yourself to how the process works and what to expect, so you won’t be surprised by any of it. A doula is also helpful because they are able to advocate for your wishes, even if you lose patience with the process.

A lot of information was shared here and we understand how overwhelming all of this can be. That’s why we created the Mom Hub on Facebook so that you can find your tribe and have a community of moms to talk with, get advice from and relate to. We’re here for you, Havah Mamas! #TribeTalk

Disclaimer: Entries were edited for length and clarity. Opinions in this piece do not reflect Havah Tribe brand’s own opinions.

By: Jaimie Brick

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