Cover Story - Too Many C Sections

Are too many women and their doctors choosing convenience, over what's best for mother and baby?

Melissa developed pre-eclampsia with her first pregnancy and had to have an emergency c-section 6 weeks early. The second time around she chose a second c-section to avoid the risks of a vaginal birth after a previous c-section but even that posed some risks for little Matthew.

"Vaginal birth I guess squeezes the mucus from their lungs. When he was a week old he started choking, it almost killed him" Melissa says "He's perfectly fine now."

But after those experiences Melissa says she can't understand why a woman would choose to have a c-section if it wasn’t medically necessary.

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control raises further questions. It found babies delivered by c-section, with no reported medical reason, were twice as likely to die in their first month of life.

In our culture of scheduling and planning a lot of women, and their doctors, think having a baby should also fit into that concept.

Dr. David Jude is the director of the OB-GYN residency program at the Marshall University Medical School, he says every patient is different and her and her baby's needs have to be considered individually.

Dr. Jude says some women want a c-section for convenience sake, or because of fear of labor and delivery! He says in those cases he will discuss the risks and benefits and come to a decision.

Dr. Jude says "the benefits of an elective c-section include less urinary incontinence, at least in the first few weeks after delivery, and convenience in scheduling around work or family visits."

The c-section rate in the U.S. stands at a record high, of 29.1% or more than one in four births. Ten years ago it was 20.7 percent or one in every five births.

The federal government has a goal to reduce the c-section rate to just 15 percent by the year 2010.

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