Friday, February 28, 2014

Reducing C-Sections for First-Time Mothers

This is an excellent piece of news from NPR:
"Women with low-risk pregnancies should be allowed to spend more time in labor, to reduce the risk of having an unnecessary C-section, the nation's obstetricians say. 
"The new guidelines on reducing cesarean deliveries are aimed at first-time mothers, according to the American College of Obstetricians and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, which released the guidelines Wednesday online and in Obstetrics and Gynecology
"About one-third of all births in the U.S. are done by C-section, and most of those are in first-time mothers. There's been a 60 percent increase in these deliveries since the 1990s, but childbirth hasn't become markedly safer for babies or mothers. 
"That discrepancy has led many to conclude that the operation is being overused. A C-section is major surgery. The procedure can increase complications for the mother and raise the risk during future pregnancies. 
"Women giving birth for the first time should be allowed to push for at least three hours, the guidelines say. And if epidural anesthesia is used, they can push even longer. Techniques such as forceps are also recommended to help with vaginal delivery.
Read the full story here.

Homebirth midwives have often noted the wide variation in "normal" birth patterns that they've observed through years of experience. This is especially true of first-time mothers, whose bodies haven't ever done the enormous task of labor and delivery. Now there's apparently some observational data to back that up. Let's hope doctors take notice!

This would also be useful information for women who had a c-section with their first and are pregnant again. Doctors are fond of saying that such women will experience labor like it's the first time. Again, let's hope they'll take this advice to heart and give women attempting vaginal delivery an adequate amount of time and patience to try.

If either of these things apply to you, don't hesitate to bring this article to your doctor's attention!