Alright my lovely readers. I know that you know just how much I want to keep women away from unnecessary procedures and interventions during pregnancy and birth. To more clearly illustrate what we are up against, specifically here in Texas, I refer you to the State Comparison map.
This map has information from 2008. Unfortunately, we know that the cesarean rate has only gone up since then, so, most likely, Texas rates are even worse now.
This means that 1 in every 3 women will have a cesarean. These are not good rates. Take two of your closest friends, stand side by side, and draw straws... one of you will get the short stick.
What increases the chances a woman will have a cesarean? Here is a short list of just a few of the reasons:
- Routine use of epidurals
- Routine use of augmentation (pitocin to speed up labor after labor has already started)
- Restricting the mother's movement during labor
- Late-term ultrasound
- Unsupportive birth team (spouse, care provider, hospital, or nurse)
- Lack of maternal education/information
- Heading into the hospital too soon after labor has started or water has broken
- Doctors impatience/time constraints
- Hospital policies/impatience/time constraints
|% of Births by Cesarean Delivery|
|District of Columbia||31.4%|
Not surprisingly, our rate of preemie babies is just as high, as is our induction rates. Now, there are some things that you can do to decrease your chances of becoming one of those women. Some of these things include:
- Don't have a primary cesarean. Having a primary cesarean means that you will have to work harder for a VBAC.. including finding a VBAC friendly doctor, hospital, and birth plan.
- Get a Doula. I know, I seem biased. But doulas do truly reduce your chances of heading into that OR. How do we do it? We act as a catalyst for informed choice, full disclosure and informed consent, keeping mom up and active during labor, helping mom to have as few interventions as possible - all of which reduce her and babies risk, which, in turn, help reduce her chances of 'needing' a cesarean.
- Hire a mother-friendly practitioner. A mother-friendly practitioner is one who will listen to your desires and hopes and fully support them. They will not use language such as 'I am going to', 'I can't let you', 'we don't allow', or the like. They will treat you with autonomy and understand that you are the consumer who has hired them, not vice versa. This is a great post about how to talk openly with your practitioner and to look for more information regarding choosing a mother-friendly practitioner (see links).
- Go to a hospital with a low cesarean rate. This chart (pdf) has a breakdown of Texas hospitals and their cesarean rates. If there is no information for your hospital, it doesn't mean that their cesarean rates are stellar, it means that they refuse to disclose that information to the public. If you happen to live in the Houston area, the rumors are true: Women's has the highest cesarean rate in the area.