A woman’s body was made to carry a baby and most of all to labor normally. Unfortunately in South Florida the C-Section rate has risen to 51% because doctors do not allow a woman with a normal pregnancy to labor. C-Sections are a quick fix for a woman who labors beyond what doctors feel is normal . South Florida ranks second in the United States for C-Sections.
A first time mom can be in labor for up to 24hrs and 14hrs for a second baby. Yes it is a long process, but if you are having a normal labor and your fetus is not in distress, there is no reason you should not be able or encouraged by your healthcare provider to have a normal vaginal delivery.
Many Dr’s. who are going on vacation choose to induce a woman who’s cervix is not ripe enough to open normally, which in the end, will lead to a C-Section. The cervix must be ripe or thin in order for it to start the dialation process. Also they don’t want to deliver on weekends; so Friday and Monday are very busy C-Section Days here in South Florida.
A woman normally is pregnant for 40 weeks and no one knows what causes labor to begin. Some speculate the shift in hormones that cause labor to begin. Once labor begins a woman’s cervix has to thin out and dilate 10 centimeters before being able to push the baby out through the vaginal opening. Some women can go over their due date by as much as two weeks, but normally most don’t really know how to calculate their last menstrual cycle and can throw off their due date as much as two weeks.
Why so many C-Sections then? Dr’s. in South Florida feel that they can justify a C-Section with the diagnosis of failure to progress in labor, when in fact they have only let women labor for a short period of time. They also feel that it will cut down on the malpractice suits by not taking any chances of something going wrong during delivery. It also cost more to have a C-Section and a doctor surely doesn’t get paid for the extra time he spends at a longer labor. However this theory is not one to be taken lightly.
A normal fetus, not in distress, needs to be delivered through the vagina, to force the fluid out of its lungs. When babies are born by C-Section this does not happen, causing many newborns to end up in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) with respiratory problems.
To stop the rising rates of C-Sections here in South Florida I would suggest a woman use a midwife, try a home birth, or find a doctor who’s practice limits C-Sections out of necessity only. Of course if you or your fetus is in distress then a C-Section would be in order. There are many fine birthing centers in South Florida and that could be another option. Most insurance companies will pay for birth centers or home births by a certified mid-wife.
Labor may begin in the middle of the night with cramping or slight contractions. You should try to go back to sleep and save all your energy for hard labor. As your contractions become stronger it is important to stay active, go for a walk, drink plenty of fluids, and time your contractions. You should start timing your contractions and when they are regular and five minutes apart then you should go to the labor and delivery unit of your hospital. Of course if your water breaks, with or without contractions, you should go to the hospital immediately. If you feel like you want to bear down or push the baby out then that means you are probably almost dilated and you should go immediately.
It is not necessary to rush your labor and even though you may or may not experience a lot of pain, the most important thing to do is slowly breath in through your nose and out through your mouth until each contraction stops. Let your body do what it was meant to do. As the pain worsens and you reach the hospital you will be given the choice of an epidural for pain management. I don’t recommend taking an epidural before you have dilated at least 5 centimeters because epidurals can slow down the progression of labor.
In some circumstances a C-Section is necessary, however most of the time it is not. In South Florida one in three women end up with a C-Section and that is scary.
Love thy labor to promote a healthy vaginal delivery. C-Sections are major abdominal surgery and with any surgery there are risk. Women that have a C-Section with the first child will always have a C-Section after that. VBAC’s or vaginal birth after cesearen will never happen in most cases unless you have another child at home. Physicians will not allow VBAC’s due to serious risk’s of bleeding.
As a child birth educator the most important thing I could do for my clients, was to go and coach them through their delivery. Every single birth I attended, coached the woman through delivery, and had their partner join in the coaching, ended up in a beautiful vaginal delivery. Some were long, some were overnight stays at the hospital for me, but in the end when that beautiful little baby made its way out in to the world was the best feeling anyone could imagine.
Tips of the Day:
Labor as long as you can at home.
Drink plenty of fluids, eat small meals, and take frequent rest periods,
Stay active as long as you can by walking with your husband or partner,
Don’t be in a rush to go to the hospital until you are having regular contractions that are at least five minutes apart
Most importantly do not consent to a C-Section if your labor is going normally and you or your baby are not in distress just because your doctor doesn’t want to wait around. That’s what he is getting paid to do.
Have someone support you through your labor, learn how to breath, comfortable positions, and no matter how painful he contractions may be remember you are that closer to delivering a healthy baby.