Birth by cesarean section (c-section) has doubled in the last ten years. Statistics show that one in three American babies is now delivered by cesarean. A c-section is a form of childbirth where a surgical incision is made through a woman’s abdomen and uterus to extract the baby (or babies). While many of these procedures are medically necessary–to save the life of the mother or baby–a large number of women are electing to have cesarean sections as their first option, that is, without trying to deliver vaginally. In fact, elective c-section is all the rage in Hollywood today, with many a young starlet opting for one (or two as is purportedly the case with this out-of-control Hoochie Mama).

But, once again, I must point out that surgery is not without risks. This is especially true for the now routine c-section: Recent research shows that babies delivered by non-emergency c-section have a four times greater chance of having breathing problems. According to Anne Hansen of the Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark, one of the lead researchers in the study, the greatest risk is seen when the procedure is performed early on–before the 39th week of pregnancy. Therefore, she states, if a woman is going to elect for this procedure, it probably shouldn’t be done before this time. It is as of yet unclear why babies born by cesarean might have breathing difficulties, but researchers believe that stress hormones produced by the mother during labor actually help the baby’s lungs mature.

C-sections, without a doubt, are a blessing to any family who has had the horror of experiencing a dangerous labor. There was a time when either mother or baby, or both, might be lost during difficult birthing. Thanks to c-sections, though, many lives have been spared; and probably everyone reading this has a loved one in the world today because of this blessed procedure. But saying that, isn’t it a shame that so many women are choosing not to experience the incredible process of giving birth the old fashioned way? Aside from the bond that is established between mother and child during this laborious process, there must be physiological, hormonal, and–excuse my metaphysics, but–energetic benefits to the entire process. To just bypass this most natural act, this integral part of our evolution, seems a bit detached to me. What’s next? Portable colostomy bags? I mean, what the heck–it’s uncomfortable and…I really can’t be bothered, so…sheesh.

Listen, this isn’t a morality trip but, unless you know it’ll be a hazard to your health or the health of your baby, don’t opt out of the beautiful birthing experience. The labor is worth the pain. It was by far the greatest experience my wife and I have ever had (yes, better than mushrooms and whiskey, much better). And besides, it turns out it’s better for your baby too.

Check out this blogger’s hysterical take on elective c-sections.

And something on the more serious side.

6 Responses to Elective C-section May be Hip, but…

  1. Anonymous says:

    If you had to birth a baby you would not be against having a c-section, and you would not feel that birth is an “incredible process”. I have birthed two vaginally, and one via c-section. If I had to do it all over again, it would be c-sections all the way.

  2. dr. nick campos dr. nick campos says:

    Yes, I know…life is hard. Birth is not an incredible process, that’s just the ignorance in me talking; it’s actually a real pain in the rear. Why can’t we just reproduce by binary fission…stupid sexual reproductive function.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have had a 2 natural births, my daughter was born at home 5 months ago and it was our first planned home birth. I have never had any pain relief for a birth and I would never do it any way. Yeah, it is extremely hard. It is the most difficult thing you will ever do in your whole life. But it is also the greatest thing you could ever accomlish. I would never in a million years want a c-section, I would gladly take all the pain again because it doesn’t last. Our bodies are supposed to do this and giving birth is safer than most of the things we do everyday, like driving a car.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have had 2 unwanted c-sections and after the first was told I did not have an option to try for a natural birth. So ended up with a so called “elective” second operation. I am late into my 3rd pregnancy and decided I wasn’t just going to listen to another doctor without doing my research. I discovered ICAN and educated myself which is why I am planning a home birth this time around since VBA2C is not an option at any of the hospitals around where I live. I am so upset to learn late that i did not have to have that 2nd c-section and that my 1st was most likely very unnecessary. Ladies, please research and look into all your options as your doctor will not give them all to you. My two c-sections were horrible and i spent the first several hours of both of my babies lives in recovery. There are so many complications that are not discussed prior to this procedure and most women would never opt for it if they knew the truth about all the risks.

  5. dr. nick campos dr. nick campos says:

    Thank you Anon for the comments. Check this post as well:

    http://6keysoptimalhealth.blogspot.com/2010/07/vbac-womans-choice.html

  6. I’ve had 2 sections and would give my right arm for a natural birth. Not only can c sections cause tremendous pain afterward for the mother, even for months and years later, but people don’t often realise that there is a grieving process going on afterwards for the loss of natural birth that so many women desire.

    Labour might last a day or two but a scar is forever.

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