OPTION 6: Medically advised preplanned C-section
“With my first child, I had an emergency C-section after 13 hours of labor, and I felt so guilty and depressed that I couldn’t have a vaginal birth. When I had my second child, I didn’t want to go through a long labor only to wind up having an emergency C-section again. So I went in for a planned C-section. It was so easy, it was like the reward for the difficulty of the first one.” —Kara (not her
real name), A stay-at-home mother of two in Portland, Ore.
“When I found out my daughter was breech and I would need a C-section, I was upset that it was going to be so technical and scheduled. I wanted that surprise of my water breaking and going into labor.” —Julie, An artist and mother of two in New York
Who chooses it: Women whose doctor is concerned about complications such as multiples, a baby in a breech position or placenta previa, or women who’ve had a previous C-section and thus face a small potential risk for uterine rupture if they attempt a subsequent vaginal birth (VBAC).
What you get: Control over a situation that might have otherwise jeopardized your or your baby’s health; the time, date and amount of pain experienced during delivery; and the ability to plan for a C-section rather than having to undergo one at a moment’s notice.
What you give up: The idea of a natural, exciting start to labor. Also, breastfeeding and cuddling may be delayed for a few hours while you recover from surgery.
What you need to know: A 2004 study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that uterine ruptures occurred in less than 1 percent of VBACs. Having labor induced increases rupture risk, as does forceps- or vacuum-assisted delivery. C-sections pose an increased likelihood of infection, bleeding and risks to the baby.