Dr. Michael J. McGlynn of the Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley has written an article on the Castro Valley Forum this week, in which he comments on changes he's noticed in recent years. He says: "More and more pregnant women are requesting caesarean sections without labor. This is especially true for first-time mothers who are apprehensive about the pain associated with labor as well as injury to the birth canal with a vaginal birth. Many mothers also want a Csection to control the delivery date."
Dr. McGlynn makes the valid point that "information about choices to make as pregnant women enter into labor and delivery is not... straightforward." He says, "Questions about the birth process and whether to accept pain medication during labor or bypass labor altogether and have an elective caesarian section are very personal choices."
His advice?: "With so many decisions to make, pregnant women should be comfortable enough with their obstetricians to make sure they [are] even writing questions down in advance. After all, a healthy mom and a healthy baby is everyone’s ultimate goal."
I completely agree with Dr. McGlynn's advice; in fact, this is exactly what I did ahead of my visits with my OBGYN. I read as many medical studies on cesarean risks and benefits as I could find, and was fortunate enough to have a doctor who was willing to answer all my questions and help me to understand my own individual health risks. Pregnancy and childbirth are not without risk, but understanding and feeling comfortable with the decisions you make has been shown in studies (10,11,13,15) to help increase women's likelihood of post-birth satisfaction.