32 Weeks: What To Reject When You’re Expecting

My dad is a huge Consumer Reports guru and sent me this article: What To Reject When You’re Expecting.


I found it to be a pretty sound article full of stats and research that fit in line with other (more sensationalized) articles, books and movies I’ve read. I think it’s important to note that the author used words like “normal” and “low risk” frequently – no one is trying to say any of these are bad if baby’s health is at risk.

10 Overused Procedures

(See the article for the why!)

  1. A C-section with a low-risk first birth [The national C-section rate hovers between 30-35%; Ina May Gaskin’s is less than 2%]
  2. An automatic second c-section [VBACs have declined drastically in the last few decades)
  3. An elective early delivery [Even though 37 weeks is term, there is research that suggestions 39 weeks or later have less health problems]
  4. Inducing labor without a medical reason [This relates to yesterday’s post on the due date being an estimate. I’m not sure why anyone would choose induction – maybe a really serious date conflict?]
  5. Ultrasounds after 24 weeks [ <— I am totally guilty of this one]
  6. Continuous electronic fetal monitoring [Ina May talks about this – how you’re more likely to see “problems” that aren’t really problems and that intermittent monitoring catches most all dangers]
  7. Early epidurals [I can see why these would be requested for those who don’t care to feel active labor – why not?]
  8. Routinely rupturing the amniotic membranes [I was surprised to read this doesn’t really have an effect and may increase c-section risk according to the research cited in the article because this is something I thought was pretty safe and common]
  9. Routine episiotomies [I think it’s been pretty clearly stated across the board that unless there is a reason to do one, tearing is preferred]
  10. Sending your newborn to the nursery [Luckily our hospital supports babies in the room, but I’ve heard several moms say that sometimes just getting a few hours of solid sleep is worth sending them to the tender care of nurses for a little bit, but the article says sleep is the same…I find that hard to believe!]

The 10 Things You Should Do During Your Pregnancy list I found to be pretty good too. Have a backup plan, try to turn a breech baby, stay at home during early labor, be patient, hire a doula, listen to yourself, skin to skin – all good ideas.

What are your thoughts on the list? Do you disagree with any of Consumer Reports’ bullet points?

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155 thoughts on “32 Weeks: What To Reject When You’re Expecting”

  1. I was induced at 41 weeks because my dr. stated that he did not let his patients go past 41 weeks b/c there were higher risks for the baby after that point. I’m not sure what stats he used to back that up but I trusted him and I think my body was ready because it was the kickstart I needed. The pill they gave me to help dilate started things and I ended up never even needing the pitocin. But I can see how date estimates being wrong could cause many women to be induced before their body is ready – that leads to some disastrous induction stories!

    I sent my son to the nursery and I would do it again. I was tired, sore, emotional, overwhelmed and I needed to ease into it and I needed those periods of sleep. I have heard of hospitals forcing the baby to stay in the room with the mom and I think that’s wrong, it should be a choice.

  2. I personally don’t understand why people CHOOSE to induce labor either?! I guess we r so use to scheduling and controlling everything these days… however, I was more scared of an induction than allowing labor to start naturally! I was one of the 8% of women who’s water breaks BEFORE contractions start! So I couldn’t labor at home for as long as I wanted due to an increased risk of infection. But we did walk the halls and my contractions picked up quick! I got the epidural, but not until I was almost 6cm dilated bc I read that getting the epidural before 4-6cm dilated lead to an increased risk of c/s.

    I do agree that c-sections are way overdone in the US, certainly there are medically necessary cases, but not 1 in 3 women. People seem so scared to just let it happen these days, everyone wants to control everything!

  3. I think it really all comes down to having a Dr (or midwife etc) that you trust. When it comes down to it, we can read all the articles and books we want in order to be an advocate for ourselves but in the end, we’re not medical professionals. You have to be comfortable with your Drs approach and trusting that in any given situation they will not steer you wrong. I find it really hard to imagine that a knowledgeable woman in this day and age could be convinced by a doctor that they ‘trust’ to be induced/scheduled at 37 weeks, on a Tuesday so that schedules work out all around. That just seems shady and I feel like you’d be able to tell that shady-ness from your Dr before D-day. My first baby was breech from 34 weeks on. We tried to get him to move (in many, many ways) but there was no un-budging him. This resulted in several ultrasounds towards the end, and a C section. I dont feel like it was an elective procedure at all, and honestly my recovery couldn’t have been easier. But still with baby #2 on the way, my Dr is totally on board with a VBAC.

  4. While I agree that babies should not automatically be sent to the nursery for eight hours at a time, I had to laugh at the article’s suggestion that moms get as much sleep with their babies in the room as they would in the nursery. That is ridiculous! LOL of course you should not send them to the nursery immediately and you should do skin to skin contact for as long as possible, but don’t feel bad if you send baby KERF to the nursery for a few hours that night so you can get some sleep. I was so tired and I cried when we decided to send Henry to the nursery, but it was the only sleep but I call I was in the hospital.

      1. Sorry but I have to DISAGREE here!!!
        I really don’t understand how new parents can choose to “send” their newborns to the nursery, so they can get some sleep. Our son had to be in the nursery for two days because he was born at a very low birth weight (after a healthy, full term pregnancy) and those were the hardest two days of my life!
        Why would a healthy baby go to the nursery? Just makes no sense to me…

        1. Well, it makes total sense to me that those were the hardest days of your life and that sleep wasn’t so great for you – – you were very worried about your baby! My firstborn was in the NICU for 60 days before coming home, so I know that stress VERY well. However, his younger sibling had no issues at birth and once I was very glad to send him to the nursery – knowing there were no issues – so that I could get a few hours of deeper sleep.

          For moms out there without kids yet, there is definately a difference between sleeping with your baby right in the room (which is kind of just a half-sleep in my opinion) and knowing they are being watched and listened to – you sleep much deeper, even just for a few hours.
          So while I don’t think any mom should send their baby to the nursery if they don’t want to (if it makes them feel better to keep them in the room at all times) I can totally understand why you would have them be there – knowing they aren’t in any distress – and that that would help you get that brief sleep.

          1. I wasn’t trying to judge, we as parents all have to make our decisions. I was also just very surprised that hospitals take healthy babies to the nurseries, if they don’t even have any issues, to let the parents get some sleep. My opinion is just that lack of sleep was (and still is 10 months in) part of the package, but if you are so exhausted that you can’t take care of your baby then that is obviously a different story…
            Our hospital only had a NICU and an intermediate nursery for those babies that need a little help and monitoring in those first few days, but there’s no space away from mom for healthy babies, so I’m surprised that some hospitals have that.
            Oh, and even with my baby in the nursery, I was woken up every 2 to 3 hours by nurses, doctors, lactation consultants and midwifes, etc. who needed to check on me, so it’s not a guarantee that you will get sleep, depending on what the situation is.

        2. Agree ! My boy was perfectly healthy and he never went to the nursery ! Get used to no sleep from day one. My feelings are like the baby was with you for 9 months warm and cozy and then he taken out into a cold bright world the least you could do is give him 24/7 comfort close to his mama !

        3. I delivered my son at 5:09 am, and we had plenty of skin-to-skin time, lots of cuddles, then they bathed him while I was being “cleaned up.” Once he was brought back to our room (around 9:00 am) we had visitors coming and going, nurses coming in to check me and him, more visitors coming and going, and by 6:00 that evening I couldn’t see strait I was so tired. My labor was 42 hours long, plus the actual delivery and all the commotion that followed. It was definitely in my, and my son’s, best interest to let him go to the nursery while my husband and I got our first sleep in two days. When your body has just gone through the biggest and most important endurance event of your life it needs at least a few hours of uninterrupted sleep to regroup. I don’t think any mom should ever feel guilty for asking for a little bit of help, especially in those first few days and weeks. Just my two cents.

  5. A lot of people choose induction, surprisingly. Or even if they don’t ‘choose’ it, they are easily swayed by some not-very-strong reason the doctor gives them. Unless a doctor tells me that my child or I could be in distress, I’m going to avoid it. But lots of women do it because they are just “so uncomfortable”, a parent is in town and they will be leaving soon (can’t wait for baby to show up), and a host of other reasons that have nothing to do with health. I’m not a crunchy-mom at all – I love that epidurals exist (though would agree that it’s best not to get them too early), I will always choose to give birth in a hospital, and in other areas of my life I’m not that crunchy, pro-everything-natural kind of person, but for some reason I’m very anti-intervention when it comes to forcibly evicting baby from the womb 🙂 (again, unless health and medical reasons dictate otherwise)

    1. I think that if my plan was to get an epidural right away, I wouldn’t be nearly as scared of induction. If I wasn’t planning to feel anything, I’d be like “why not just induce!?” I’ve just heard so many horror stories about pit that I fear it would make me unable to handle them on my own. (Thankfully a few have said they still could!)

      1. I don’t think much about contractions or more pain involved with being induced – my main reason is to avoid an unneccessary c-section. That motivates me a ton more. So many of my friends that induce end up with c-sections (especially if done too soon) because labor stalls. All these things have their place (inductions, c-sections) but if I can avoid doing one that is likely to lead to the other, especially if I don’t have a valid medical reason, then that’s my main motivation. We had my inlaws in for an entire month to help with our older child, expecting that baby would come halfway in the month. When he decided not to show up until the very end, my in laws had to leave the day we were discharged. I would have loved for him to be born sooner so that we would have had that post-birth help, but it still wasn’t worth it if it could have started a string of events I wanted to avoid (and I probably could have convincingly argued for induction because we knew he was going to be a big baby).

      2. Also remember that Pit is VERY hard on the baby! When you have a contraction, the baby is squeezed (a good thing to get their lungs producing surfactant for their first breath)–this is why the baby’s heart rate will drop during the contraction but then the baby will “recover” after each contraction.
        Because Pit causes contractions that are abnormally hard, long and closer together than a “normal” contraction would be, it often stresses the baby out and they have a hard time recovering. I liken it to if someone were holding you under water and let you up to catch a breath but didn’t let you get a full breath and then pulled you back under.
        So when the baby starts to not tolerate the hyper Pit contractions well, the mom is taken in for a c-section and everyone remarks about how “lucky” she was to be in a hospital or her baby could have died–all the while ignoring the fact that the baby’s decels were more than likely caused by the intervention that the doctor/hospital initiated.

        1. Nicole, the contractions don’t lead to surfactant production- biology does. Surfactant starts being made in week 24 or so and there’s enough of it for the alveoli to do just fine by about week 35 or so. It can be found in amniotic fluid regardless of whether or not there are contractions, well before the baby comes out.

          1. Agree! Kath, try not to let pitocin stories scare you. I was in labour for 40 hours (just with gas) and then given the pitocin drip. 1hr later I was ready to push. Another hr went by and not much progression so I had an episiotomy and my son was born 15 min later. Sometimes it’s just what’s needed. I’m thankful that my midwife suggested both options when she did.

        2. One purpose of the squeezing of the baby during each contraction is to squeeze the amniotic fluid out of the lungs in preparation for breathing. Surfactant, as noted above, is already present. In fact, some research indicates that the presence of surfactant is one factor in stimulating labour.

      3. I’m not sure why people find it so surprising or confusing that someone would voluntarily choose to induce. I chose to induce on my actual due date (yes, a Tuesday). The reasons why I did it were valid enough to me that the decision was pretty simple. According to that article and a lot of the commenters here, I guess, those reasons wouldn’t qualify as “strong enough.” One reason was because I very much wanted my family to be there at the hospital after the delivery, and this way was able to give people a concrete window of time to keep available. Another reason was that I was physically extremely uncomfortable all the time. A third was my worry of being in labor unmonitored at home and potentially not getting to the hospital in time for an epidural to take effect. Yet another was the reassurance of knowing that it would be my OB who delivered my baby and not an on-call doctor I’d never met.

        Health and medical reasons didn’t dictate my decision, but when I took all the factors in my own personal situation, induction made total sense. It wasn’t something I took lightly and of course I don’t think any woman who chooses it should, but I genuinely don’t understand the judgment that gets thrown at women who make the choice for their own reasons.

        1. When you have older children at home, there is childcare to think about. Not everyone has family living nearby who are able to help. Sometimes it is necessary for people to schedule time with family living out of state. It can be easier if there is a scheduled delivery date.

          Having had three c-sections, I can assure you they are not as terrible as some people make them out to be. I was pleasantly surprised after my first to discover I was not in a lot of pain afterwards.

        2. I think the main issue is that not one of the reasons you stated had to do with the health of the baby (I’m NOT saying there is anything wrong with that, but it’s just the truth). I get that those are valid reasons- I can absolutely see why you’d want family there, and I’m sure you were very uncomfortable. But in the case you described there was no medical reason for inducing, and in many cases induction ends up in stalled labor, c-sections, pitocin, and a host of other interventions that *some people* might want to avoid. Again, personal preferences.

          I guess I’m saying, is anyone saying you’re a terrible mother? No, but all of your reasons for induction were personal and were outside the realm of necessary and/or related to the health of your baby. It was due to convenience, which I’m sure is a high priority, and I don’t think you should be judged by that, but it was convenience/preference nonetheless. To me, I think that, barring medical issues or immediate distress to mother/baby, babies should be allowed to come when they are ready- per the previous post about the wide swings in “true” due dates, different rates of development, etc. But that’s just my opinion, and I don’t think that women who choose to be induced should be shamed for it. On the flip side, I think I should be allowed to say that I don’t understand the motivation to have those kind of inductions for convenience, without people being over sensitive and feeling “attacked”, so I think the understanding/open dialogue flows both ways.

          It seems too often these days people are very “I” centric, and when someone expresses an opinion contrary to their own they feel personally attacked. We all have different values, so my saying I value X does not mean I think you’re a bad person if you don’t value X. I

          1. That was the point of my post, to give a point of view from someone who did voluntarily choose induction for non-medical reasons, in an attempt to explain it from a different perspective. I don’t think anyone’s saying anyone else is a terrible mother.

            To you, the reasons I listed aren’t enough to justify induction — totally understandable. But it’s when people begin to argue what is or isn’t a “valid” reason for a a woman to have an elective medical procedure that the hackles come up. It isn’t having someone argue a contrary opinion that makes me defensive, it’s hearing them declare one reason to be “valid” and another “invalid,” as if they are the ones who get to decide which is which on the behalf of all women. If Woman #1 opts for an induction because her amniotic fluid levels are dangerously low, and Woman #2 opts for an induction because she is young, unmarried, and the only family member available to help her care for her baby begins a full-time job the following week, is one woman’s choice to induce more valid than the other’s?

        3. I’ve realized how to better explain myself – – I should say I’m not anti induction just for being anti-induction altogether. I fear that induction will cause a string of events that I’d rather avoid otherwise (C-section being the main one). If a women doesn’t have a strong opinion either way regarding what happens overall / not strongly against the higher potential for stalled labor/C-section) and being able schedule the birth or get that induction for other reasons is what’s more important to THEM, then by all means its a valid choice.
          For me, the possible outcomes isn’t worth it to induce (for me and for what I want) unless there is a medical need. I guess it all depends on how what your order of priorities are for the birth – aside from what we ALL want of course – – and that’s a happy, healthy baby and mom no matter what comes up.

      4. My now 16 month old son was induced with cervidil/pitocin and born at 42 weeks 1 day (I had an IUI, so I knew exactly when I ovulated), and with the help of my husband and doula, I still gave birth without any pain meds. Considering that I’d never experienced labor before, I didn’t know the difference between regular contractions and pitocin-induced ones anyway, so I just worked with the pain I had. Who knows if the pitocin made it worse; either way, I was still off in laborland, just letting my body do its thing. Hope that makes sense. Just know that if you do end up with pitocin, it’s totally possible to still manage the pain.

        Btw, I moved to C’ville last summer…maybe I’ll see you around the playgrounds soon!

  6. My friend got induced. We were in med school and she only had a certain number of days before she had to be back. When someone else is dictating your recovery time I suppose you may not feel like you have a choice. Also, my cousins wife elected to have a c section but her baby was ten pounds in the womb and had an extra large head. The doctors said there was no way she could have delivered naturally. He looked like a three month old when he was born.

    1. My third son was 10lbs 4 oz and I had him at home, in the water, and he was by far my easiest birth out of my three boys (and the other two were smaller than him by 1 and 2 lbs!). Big babies do not necessarily mean harder labors. It has a lot more to do with whether the mom is able to stay upright and moving and choose positions for birth that OPEN the pelvis rather than close it. Squatting gives a woman up to 30% more room in the pelvis vs lying flat on her back but guess what position OBs have moms pushing their 10 lb babies out in???? It’s no wonder they end up with a c-section but it wasn’t simply because it was a “big baby”. Remember…fat is squishable 🙂

      1. My doctors knew my little guy would be huge, but I never let that scare me into inducing too early or scheduling a C-section. First, I’m no tiny, itty bitty petite girl. I’ve got a medium (or large frame), never any issues brought up with pelvis size, no women in my family have had problems with birthing. Both my sisters have had 10+ lb babies with virutally no issue (and I could definately say they are smaller-weight-wise than myself!) My second born was 9lb 15oz, just shy of 10! While it did take more effort than my first 6 lb baby, I was never too concerned that him simply being big would be the main issue (though they were predicting more around the high 8 lbs, so we were all shocked!)

  7. Maybe I’m a little salty because this issue is affecting me directly, but I am really tired of being made to feel like a failure or a bad mother because I’m having a c-section. I’m 37.5 weeks now, and my baby is breech. My doctor does not recommend a version procedure (trying to turn the baby) for me because I have an anterior placenta (it’s in the front and the procedure could cause it to detach, which would require an emergency c-section). When I first found out that my baby was breech, I was really really bummed, and it’s largely because of everything I’ve read about how wonderful natural birth is and how evil c-sections are. Even my childbirth education teacher made it seem like c-sections were for obese people, poor people, or uneducated people. It was extremely hurtful and made me feel sad–when I should be preparing for one of the most joyful experiences of my life. In the weeks since finding out that the kiddo is breech, I’ve thought a lot and come to the decision that me being bummed about something I can’t control is totally useless and will only be a self-fulfilling prophecy. The important thing is a healthy baby, not an ideal “birth experience” for me. I have no doubt I will breastfeed, bond, get skin to skin, and be a loving mother. I’m tired of statistics and lists making me feel otherwise.

    1. Bekah I think having a breech position is absolutely a perfectly acceptable and medically necessary reason for a c-section. I would definitely opt for one if my baby were turned – I’ve heard that most of the medical community doesn’t recommend vaginal attempts anymore (not that some won’t do them…). The doctor behind Panic Free Pregnancy, whose approach is VERY liberal in general, said he would never delivery another breech baby vaginally after a terrible scare he went through. That was enough to make me decide that I would not attempt one myself. Don’t feel bad about your situation!

      1. Thanks, Kath. I am coming to terms with it, but the main issue is–all of the reasons that people give for c-sections being bad–like not being able to bond, etc.–still apply whether it’s medically necessary or not. So the fact that I have to have one makes me feel like I’m doing something “wrong” or starting out at a disadvantage even though it’s really not a choice I’m making. I just hate the implication that I could have had all of these wonderful, blissful things, but because I have to have a c-section I won’t get them. Bah!

        1. I was just thinking last night – you know how part of the whole hormonal release/bonding thing is the baby going through the birth canal? I bet they’ll come up with some instrument – like a vibrator-type thing – that somehow triggers this for women who for whatever reason can’t delivery vaginally with the advancements of science. I guess if it hurt it wouldn’t be that good, but something to simulate that release. But you know, look at the stats – women have c-sections 35% of the time and I’d say the majority do just fine with bonding and things. At least that’s what I’ve heard from my friends who have had to have them.

        2. Oh, and I think the whole fear-inducing about bonding stuff is bull crap (pardon the French). You hear that with pro-breast feeding arguements as well. It doesn’t matter how baby comes into the world, if you are loving, mother excited for their arrival, bonding should not be a problem. My first child was transported just a few hours after birth for surgery (I got very little holding time b/c of problems discovered), could not hold him for almost a week after birth while he recovered, and then because of other problems I could not nurse him (he couldn’t feed by mouth for awhile so I ended up pumping for a long time). ANYWAY – – I definately still bonded with my baby through all that because…he was my baby! I don’t buy for one second that if you miss out on a little holding time after birth or if you can’t breastfeed that you won’t bond with your baby. Bonding is something that occurs when you realize that you love that little life given to you so very much and it’s not swayed by the above reasons. If you are unable to bond, there is a whole other host of issues going on other than “just didn’t get to hold baby right away”. (sorry, this subject gets me riled up:))

          1. I think people stress the bonding thing for mothers intending on nursing. Apparently, the baby nurses much better when they have immediate contact with the mother. From my own experience this seems to be true. I didn’t really get to hold my first baby until about 45 minutes after birth and wasn’t able to put him to my breast for over an hour. He didn’t latch on and actually nurse for 36 hours (although I tried many times).And the first few months nursing were very stressful. With my other two, I was able to hold them immediately and put them to my breast within 15 minutes and they latched on right away and were excellent nursers. My midwife said it is very important to get them to the breast with in 30 minutes after birth…how true this is in every circumstance I don’t know, but it was true for me. As far as me bonding with MY baby time (45 min later or holding them right away) didn’t matter at all, because it was MY baby.

            1. Our stories sound identical. I only have one child so that’s all I have to go on. After all the difficulty I had for the first few months of nursing I will definitely be requesting skin to skin and immediate nursing next time!

        3. It just totally depends on the person. When I was pregnant with my first, I skipped the cesarean chapters in my natural childbirth books and fast forwarded over that “monkeys love their babies less if they don’t birth them” section of the Business of Being born and ignored people who said vaginal birth promotes bonding. I knew I was going to work hard for a vaginal birth, I didn’t want to hear the negativity in case I ended up with a cesarean. The best advice I could give about that is “don’t borrow other people’s troubles.”

          FWIW, I ended up with a cesarean because my baby was breech. It was actually a surprise (like, water breaks, huge contractions, go to hospital, 7 cm dilated, OMG that’s her butt!) I feel lucky in some ways because I didn’t have the time to worry about the upcoming cesarean, but I also had a lot to process about why we didn’t know, etc.

          I had a hard physical recovery from the birth (probably a lot of it from laboring to 10 cm before the cesarean), but I had a BLISSFUL emotional recovery. My baby breastfed like a champ and I felt utterly connected to her from moment one (something that certainly not all vaginal birth moms feel – again, it just depends on the person).

          PLEASE don’t let anyone get you down about your birth. Feel your feelings, but don’t let anyone else tell you how to feel.

        4. Bekah- It will be OK!!! I had to have a C-Section. I chose to be induced at 40.5 weeks. I was uncomfortable towards the end. I decided to do pitocin, after 6 hours of labor i asked for the epidural. My contractions were all over the place and never really became organized. I only dialated to 5cm. The way that my baby was angled he wouldn’t have been able to fit through my pelvis. Then his heart rate dropped once. When his heart rate dropped the second time, they stopped the pitocin and I went in for an immediate C-section. Do I feel like a faliure? Hell no!! After the C-section the Dr.’s were able to get me out of the operating room fairly quickly and the nurses were great at getting my baby quickly to my in the recovery room. I was able to get my baby to latch immediately and we have bonded ever since. He’s 18 months old and developing just fine. The C-section is just a breif moment in time.

        5. Bekah,

          Don’t let anyone or anything (well-intentioned or not) make you feel you are not a good mom or that your experience will somehow be “lessened”. I had a high-risk pregnancy, had a cerclage, and was on bed rest when my water broke at home at 35 weeks. I made it safely to the hospital, had the epidural, the pitocin, and a c-section. My son, while small at 5lbs even, was born perfectly healthy and roomed with me.

          After birth, we had tons of bonding time and once we were home we did kangaroo care (lots of baby wearing with skin to skin contact). We did not do well with breast-feeding and he battled reflux as a baby.

          So much of our birth experience and first year weren’t “perfect” but I have the happiest, most loving boy in the world. We are extremely close and he’s the joy of my life.

          Birth is ONE experience out of thousands you will have – some will be great, some will be ok, and others will make you want to pull your hair out – but it’s the full spectrum of experiences that will truly tell the story of your motherhood.

          Enjoy “your” experiences and congratulations on your baby!

        6. Bekah-I can absolutely guarantee you that you will feel a strong bond with your child even if you have a c-section and you will still look back on your birth experience as something that was extremely positive. I have 2 daughters who are now ages 4 and 2. Both were c-section deliveries for medical reasons. I am extremely close to both of my girls and I look back on both of their births fondly. I know what you mean though. When I had my girls lots of people made me feel like less of a mother for not having them vaginally. I was really bummed at first, but then my ob said,”In the end, the only things that matter are your health and the baby’s.” Very true. Don’t let anyone make you feel badly for how the baby came out of you-just embrace the moment and enjoy the ride. It’s awesome!

        7. Bekah-I tried posting this once earlier, but I had phone issues, so I’m hoping it doesn’t post twice! I absolutely understand where you are coming from. I had 2 c-sections and both times people made me feel like it wasn’t “normal” and that I was less of a mother because I didn’t have them vaginally. Both my my c-sections were medically necessary and my daughters are now ages 4.5 and 2. I am very close to both of them (and I wasn’t able to hold the oldest until almost 6 hours after her birth due to some medical issues she was having) and I don’t feel like we bonded any less because of that-even though people told me that’s what would happen. When I found out that I was going to have to have a c-section with my first baby I was pretty bummed about it, but my ob told me that in the end the only prize is having a healthy baby. There is no prize for having the most natural birth. So regardless of how your baby arrives on this earth, you will be bonded to him or her because he/she is your baby and you carried that baby for 9 months. You are going to be a great mother. Don’t let anyone make you feel that you are starting out at a disadvantage. The reality is that you are starting out at an advantage because you have the technology available to you to allow your baby to arrive safely in this world and you have made a well-informed choice to do what is best for both you and your baby. You will still be able to look back on your birth experience fondly. I know I do. Enjoy the ride ! 🙂

          1. Thanks to Dolly, Jenny, and Heidi for the words of encouragement. I really appreciate it and know you’re all right. I’m just excited for the little guy to get here!

      2. You know, I’m feeling similar to Bekah about inductions – some of the comments you and others have made (“I’m not sure why anyone would choose induction – maybe a really serious date conflict?”) feel awfully judgey. Everyone’s pregnancy and circumstances are different – and no one has a right to decide if someone’s reasoning for getting a c-section or an induction is “perfectly acceptable” except the pregnant woman and her doctor. If you’ve had a difficult pregnancy, are having some extremely uncomfortable side effects, haven’t slept more than a couple hours at a time in weeks, have had contractions for days with no progress, are overdue and carrying a 10 lb baby that’s getting bigger every day… well, when the doctor offers you an induction your resolve may falter. And if it does, I don’t think you’d feel great about other people scoffing that your induction isn’t necessary. (Especially those who haven’t been through it).

        I really hope you get the natural, intervention-free birth that you are hoping and preparing for – that was certainly my goal. But there is no reason to be “so scared” of the alternative – you’ll get through it, and as long as you have a healthy baby at the end, it really won’t matter to you how he arrived.

        1. Reasons are reasons – everyone has them. And everyone is different. I think the critique of the article is more on the medical system than women themselves.

          It does matter to ME how my baby arrives within the context of a normal birth. Just like if I had slept through my alarm on my graduation day and not been able to walk across the stage – I would have been disappointed emotionally but my diploma no less important.

          1. Wow Kath–what a great analogy! I will be using that from now on in my childbirth classes 🙂 What I always tell my couples is that it’s OK to be disappointed with your birth but also simultaneously be happy to have a healthy baby. The two are NOT mutually exclusive of one another!
            When everyone is telling a mom who is sad about her birth experience that she shouldn’t care about it and only focus on her healthy baby, they minimize her feelings and invalidate them and make her feel guilt for feeling them….which is NOT good!

            1. I agree. They are separate. I think it’s oK to be disappointed too, but that doesn’t mean you would have changed things for the worse

          2. No one is saying you shouldn’t care about how you give birth, but by saying ” a normal birth”, you are implying that ever other birth is abnormal. C-sections are necessary sometimes, and save lives, and are “normal” for that situation. I think a better wording would be to say something along the lines of “I would love to try to give birth naturally, but all that matters in the end is to have a healthy baby” ya know?

            1. I don’t entirely agree with you – a c-section isn’t really normal. Are them sometimes necessary? Absolutely. Something to be thankful for? Definitely. But it’s not the normal way to give birth. Just thinking to Ina May Gaskin’s c-section rate of <1%. Normal would indicate a rate in the majority. Perhaps just we can just sub the word normal for "low-risk" which is all I mean by normal. Nothing is going wrong.

              1. In line with Fran, I think it’s the word of “normal”; please be cognizant of your word choice and how many people you personally affect when you use a loaded word. Poor Bekah was feeling badly which sparked many of your readers’ kind words and reassuring stories. No one wants to be made feel judged, inferior, or imperfect. May you have the ideal birth experience you desire.

                1. I was the first to respond to Bekah. No where in this post did I say women who have chosen these options were inferior to others. I presented an article and invited discussion. Do you agree or disagree with the author? Clearly some good perspectives have been shared. I don’t appreciate the accusations.

                  1. What I’m trying to say is that using the term “normal” may have been the wrong word choice. It makes women who aren’t able to have the birth that “is the best” feel like they are abnormal. It may have been better worded had you said “a natural, medicine free birth” or “this is how I would like it, without being induced”. There is no such thing as a normal birth, but there is such a thing as a natural birth.

                    1. It’s a word I’ve seen over and over again in some of these articles and things, so I didn’t know it was so negatively accepted. I’ll try to steer away from now on.

                2. Jenny, thanks for the kind words. I really wasn’t so much responding to Kath’s word choice, or even the list she referenced. Reading about the topic this morning just felt like the last straw in terms of my feeling marginalized for going the c-section route. I just feel like there’s a backlash in response to the high rates of c-sections in this country that can make those of us who really don’t have a choice (or if we do it’s a risk we’re not willing to take) feel like less of a person or mother for having one. It is bizarre because all the advice I’ve gotten about it from my physician has been reassuring and great, but there’s still this backlash implying that her advice to me is not as good as a midwife’s or is corrupted in some way by the establishment. I guess it’s the first lesson in a long line of lessons that will go along with motherhood that I’ll just have to trust my instincts and take control of what I can and let go of the rest. 🙂

              2. Something to bear in mind when comparing C-section stats is the pool of patients on which they are drawn. I will state first that I haven’t researched C rates in the US, nor am I familiar with Ina May. BUT her rates may be “<1%" because she manages only low risk pregnancies where the chance of interventions is correspondingly low. Does she also include her clients that developed complications prior to labour (eg someone who develops high blood pressure at week 30, is put on bedrest and/or admitted to hospital) whose care had to be transferred to an OB? In addition, some hospitals have high C rates because they manage a primarily high risk population. Just something to consider when comparing stats because, as my stats prof used to say, "you can use stats to prove anything" …

                1. I don’t know how Ina May does her birthing statistics, but my midwife has different categories of statistics. For example, she has a category for hospital transfers before labor (A woman who develops gestational diabetes), hospital transfers during labor, hospital transfers after birth, c-section rates, etc.

            2. I guess I’m just confused- per a comment I left above- why this understanding/open dialogue doesn’t flow both ways. It seems women can’t even express an *opinion* of their own *personal* birth desires if it can in any way be construed as an insult to women who have epidurals/c-sections/hospital births.

              Why is someone saying “I want an unmedicated, home birth in a tub with no interventions because I think that’s what’s best for my baby” a direct insult to someone having a c-section? In the interest of being sensitive to women who have hospital births or c-sections, why must women who want other births couch every.single.thing.they.say. in caveats and disclaimers?

              Expressing personal opinions doesn’t always have to be interpreted as a personal attack. I think it’s kind of sad that women who are *already* going against the mainstream, majority culture of birth have to then be told that they need to “tone it down” and “be more respectful” when they’re just expressing an opinion.

              I have seen some nasty, vitriolic, judgy birth advocates, and they turn me off. I didn’t see any of that in this post.

              1. Hey Cortney, for my part I don’t have any problem with people expressing that they want a natural birth, etc, etc, and I don’t take that as a personal insult at all. I’m not psyched about having a c-section because a natural birth is what I’d prefer too. All I was expressing was sadness at being made to feel (in my childbirth class and through things I’ve read–not Kath’s blog) like I’m “less than” because I’m doing this, and that I’m missing out on integral aspects of motherhood. It just seems that with all of this talk about how bad the high rate of c-sections is, women like me who are faced with the medical necessity for one are kind of left on the outside looking in. I would have liked more support and resassurance at my childbirth ed class, for example, instead of a passing reference to planned c-sections that really just highlighted all of the things I wouldn’t be getting. I wasn’t trying to point the finger at Kath with my post at all, and certainly don’t mind the dialogue. I just think women should support each other, like so many woman have done for me in the comments here.

    2. Hi, Bekah. I just thought I’d tell you that two years ago I was in your exact position. I had a breech baby with an anterior placenta. I was 95% certain that a c-section was the way to go (and it’s really the only option that my doctor initiated any discussion about), but I did some reading up online to make sure I didn’t read anything that changed my mind. What I found is that there are a lot of women (most of whom never even had breech babies btw) who think it’s tragic that c-sections have become almost default in breech situations. But with most studies showing better long-term outcomes for breech babies born via c-section rather than vaginally, and with the fact that an acquaintance of mine’s breech baby was brain damaged during a vaginal birth (the baby was got stuck in the birth canal for several minutes), I was ultimately confident in my choice to have a c-section.

      My c-section went smoothly, and despite all the material I read saying that c-section recovery is long, painful, and difficult, I did not find that to be the case at all. I’ve honestly had menstrual cramps that bothered me far more than my c-section incision ever did. Seriously. And, of course, my baby (now almost two) and I are madly in love with each other, so there are definitely no worries about bonding. We are intensely bonded, and — another misconception — he did not seem more prone to sickness than vaginally birthed babies. He was 15 months old the first time he even had a cold. I am happy that I went with my instincts and opted for a c-section rather than letting faceless internet people guilt me into looking for a doctor brazen enough to attempt a vaginal delivery.

      My only regret, and I tell you this because I think you may want to communicate to hospital staff about it, is that it was a long time between the delivery and my first opportunity to hold and nurse my baby. If I could do it over, I would be emphatic with the staff that I want my baby with me as soon as they’ve established that neither one of us is about to die. The delay can aggravate any problems you may have establishing breastfeeding (it was rocky for us at first). So my advice is to talk to you doctor about this ahead of time, and don’t be shy about making your wishes known to the medical staff attending you. Tell them that unless there’s a serious problem, you want your baby with you asap. You don’t want to “recover” from surgery without your baby. Chances are, they will accommodate you.

      Anyway, good luck!

      1. Thank you so much for this, I really appreciate it. My doctor definitely knows how I feel about immediate (or as immediate as possible) skin to skin, and from what I understand the hospital staff are very accommodating. Hopefully everything will go smoothly so that we can make that happen.

        1. I had a c-section too with my children, and my hospital is pro skin to skin contact, breastfeeding, etc and they had the baby on me for breastfeeding as soon as I was out of the operating room, which felt quick to me. Also, when the babies werent with me, they were being held by my husband and they were right next to my bed. I felt immediately bonded to my baby!

        2. just wanted to share my experience with you real fast and reassure you even more 🙂 had a c-section with both of my children (2.5 and 7 mths)-and with my first the hospital i delivered at was all about keeping the baby with me and bfeeding asap. when she was delivered she never left my sight-they cleaned her up, weighed, did her assesments, etc while they were finishing up with the surgery and while she was in the same room. i could see her the entire time. when they wheeled me out of the OR she was on the bed with me. she literally never went to the nursery except the one time i asked that they take her so my husband could help me shower. so check with your hospital-if you haven’t already-and talk to them about what they do and how they can accommodate you. it was different with my 2nd in that he did go to the nursery for his assessments and while my surgery was being finished but i still go to bfeed him less than a hour after he was born. please don’t let anyone or any statistics steal any ounce of joy from the the birth of your child!!

          1. Thanks Jen. I really do think my hospital operates like your first one, but I know that even if they don’t it will all be ok.

      2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5RIcaK98Yg

        This may be worth looking at for many! I have a condition called Uterine Didelphys, a double uterus, which means that when I become pregnant, I may be at a high risk of pre-term labor, breech presentation, and ultimately cesarean. Having a double uterus basically means I have the same risks as carrying twins (since the real estate is cut in half). This video gave me a lot more comfort in knowing that even if I do need a c-section some day, I don’t need to feel like I’ve lost all control over my birth experience.

    3. I’m in the same situation as you. I found out my baby is breech at 38 weeks. I’ve been told for 5-6 weeks that baby was “head down” by 4 different midwives. At the 38 week appointment, they decided to get an ultrasound, just to be sure. Sure enough, babies head is up under my right rib.

      I’ve spent time in handstands, seen a chiro 2 times in one day, sat in the bathtub with ice packs on the top of my belly, played music, used a flashlight, pelvic rocks, breech tilt—and finally—a painful version that didn’t work.

      I won’t schedule a c section and I hope that baby turns on its own in the next week before my due date.

      I cried last night and a lot this morning “mourning” the loss of my natural delivery experience. Of course, in the end, I want a healthy baby and I will be thrilled with that outcome, but it’s still hard handling the change of expectations in my labor and delivery…so I completely feel where you are coming from.

      I’ve had a healthy and completely normal pregnancy up until this point — it is a big reality check that things can happen and you can’t plan your labor. Gotta go with the flow and pray for the best.

      I wish you luck and hopefully the baby will turn on its own beforehand. If not, like you said, your new birth experience will be different — but just as good. I too feel tired of these “lists” and I’m a big advocate of natural childbirth.

      1. Thanks and good luck to you too! I tried a lot of those things too (ice packs, sitting with my hips raised, flashlight, trying to convince him to turn with the sheer power of my mind, etc etc) and the little guy just isn’t having it. He likes it just fine the way he is, and I guess I need to get on board.

        1. Bekah, I just wanted to chime in and add that I had a c-section after an attempted induction at 37 weeks because I developed preeclampsia. It was not really what I had hoped for, but I was very greatful to have a healthy baby. The recovery wasn’t too bad and bonding with him and breast feeding were fine. My sister in law told me after his birth, that it is only one day in his life (which only his father and I will remember), there are so many acts of love that you two will encounter over the coming years.

          Best wishes for a happy healthy baby

    4. I completely agree with you that medical issues and circumstances arise that COMPLETELY validate the need for a c-section or other interventions. I LOVE epidurals and definately feel a little bit judged too that I don’t want to tough it out like my ancestors (who, by the way, I’m SURE would have also picked pain relief if they had the choice!) or that I’m a big sissy that’s afraid of pain or something. Having a breech baby is no light thing – – I’m sure you were bummed to learn that more or less the choice was made for you in this circumstance and I’d decry anyone who were to make you feel bad for it and lump you in with those people who do it for more unneccessary, more “convienance” based reasons.
      I hope you have a wonderful birth – healthy mom and baby!

    5. Bekah, don’t worry. A healthy baby is the prize no matter how you get there. My sister’s first had to be delivered via c-section because he was breech. She was also on bed rest for several weeks during her pregnancy for other complications. There’s no shame in using modern medicine. People don’t just let cancer fester inside. They have surgery and chemo. No one shames people who have their cancer treated even though it’s not “natural.” So, why should women feel bad when their pregnancy requires a c-section or induction? Also, my sister’s second son was born vaginally without complications. So, all pregnancies and births are different even with the same woman. It’s not some defect on your part at all. People who say otherwise are just mean girls.

    6. Hi Bekah!

      I just wanted to offer some words of encouragement to you. PLEASE don’t beat yourself up about the c-section. It pains me to see women who are ashamed or disappointed in how they bring their child into this world, just because of what people might say to them or what they might read on a blog/magazine/book. Just like every pregnancy is unique, so is every birth (and every baby!) Every birth (and every mother!) should be celebrated, no matter the circumstances!

      My son was born at 31 weeks – after an easy, textbook pregnancy. I was shocked to say the least. I didn’t get to even hold him until he was 2 days old – he spent 6 weeks in the NICU, where for the early weeks I had to basically ask nurses/doctors permission to do anything with him. I was able to deliver “naturally” (whatever that means) with no pain meds or interventions. Does my “natural” birth mean that much to me now? Absolutely not.

      At the end of the day, all I think about now is how thankful and grateful I am to have a healthy 20-month old boy who is the center of my world. Things could have been a lot worse. After being around babies in the NICU who never made it home, or who had major medical issues that would affect them for the rest of their lives, the only thing I am thankful for is the little guy running around making a mess of my house!! 🙂 I don’t sit around patting myself on the back saying “Yay me! I had a natural birth just like I wanted and just like my baby books said I should have!” It makes no difference now, and I honestly wish I would have spent less time in my pregnancy worrying about whether or not I would have the birth that I wanted!

      That’s not to say that you don’t have the right to feel disappointed – you certainly have that right; just don’t fixate on it because in the end it truly doesn’t even matter. It sounds like you are taking a healthy attitude about it. It’s not something you can control, so don’t beat yourself up. For months after my son’s early arrival, I was so upset about the fact that I had had a preemie. I felt like I had failed him, even though I had done everything I was “supposed” to. I kept thinking “Why me?” – why did I go into preterm labor when I had been so careful? Even though my DR kept telling me that there was nothing I did wrong and nothing I could have done to prevent it, I still had that “mothers’ guilt”.

      I can tell you from personal experience that the people who assume somebody who has a c-section or someone who didn’t get to hold their baby right away aren’t able to bond with their baby are WRONG. It is up to the mother/father to bond with the baby in whatever way they know how (based on instinct and emotion), and it’s absolute rubbish to say that people can’t bond with their babies because they had an “abnormal” birth. There is no stronger bond than mother and child – you’ve carried the baby all this time, do you think there was no bonding going on there? 🙂 Don’t let anyone tell you differently! 🙂

      So just enjoy the last bit of your pregnancy, every minute of it, because it truly does go by so fast! Soon you will have a little bundle to hold and cuddle, and you’ll see that THAT is all that matters, not how he/she arrived! Best of luck to you!! 🙂

    7. Bekah- weird question, but i’ve never heard of a c-section being for obese people. Did your class mention what the reasoning is behind that?

      1. I’m not really sure why she said that. Perhaps the correlation with larger fetal size, or issues of heart disease or blood pressure with the mother?

    8. I was in your EXACT position when my son was born last year! breech, anterior placenta, couldn’t do the version, and I totally beat myself up over it for a good few weeks. It is really terrible how badly we are made to feel in general when for folks like us, a C section is absolutely necessary. All I can say is keep your chin up. Looking back now, i wouldn’t have cared if they pulled my son out through my nose, it was totally the best best best moment of life! And you will find the same, I’m sure.

  8. I had both an induction and an epidural, and I just want to tell you that neither are something to fear or avoid at all costs…sometimes they are tools of modern medicine that can actualy help mom and baby. I was induced at 37 weeks 2 days after 2 episodes of syncope and a bunch of stress tests left my doc feeling like my son was safer outside of the womb than in it. I will admit, I was a little skeptical, but shortly after my son was born I learned of a friend of a friend who nearly died and lost her baby through the exact circumstance my doc was working to protect us against (falling…or in my case passing out and falling…while near-term). I have never regretted my doctor’s well-thought-out decision. The pitocin was FINE. Really! My bigger problem was the back labor pain! Now that was painful. I am a competitive runner and man, that back labor was worse than any running pain I have ever experienced. Last but not least, I did have an epidural and it actually saved me from needing a c-section. My son wasn’t fully descended because my abdominal muscles were not relaxing enough to allow him too…this is sometimes an in intended consequence of having continued with workouts during pregnancy! (I jogged to 30 weeks and then walked.) The epidural allowed those muscles to relax and he was born, cord wrapped around his neck multiple times, before he went into distress. I just wanted to give you this perspective, and I will couch it all by saying that in general I am a completely au-natural kind of girl…I cook everything from scratch, I nursed for a year, I stay away from chemical, I compost and grow my own food…the whole thing. But with my son’s birth I allowed modern medicine to not be the enemy and I welcomed those interventions because they allowed me to have a safe, successful birth experience for my son and me.

  9. I think that list is pretty solid. We elected not to have fetal monitoring during labor (other than occasional checks every few hours) and I was so happy, because I could sit in the tub, walk around freely, and I could just let my body do what it wanted to without constant monitoring.

    Induction scares me. I’ve had friends induce and their pitocin stories are not pleasant. I was willing to go 42 weeks just to avoid getting induced. I don’t know anyone personally who was induced and was able to have a natural labor, even friends who were completely determined. I busted out every trick in the book to get labor to start on its own the day before my due date to avoid the risk of induction and I went into labor the next day, so one of them must have worked! 🙂

    The only thing I kind of disagree with is the not sending the baby to the nursery. I was on such a high after giving birth that the first 24 hours I didn’t even notice how exhausted I was. We kept our son in-room that first night, but about mid-morning the next day it hit us both that we had been awake for more than 48 hours with little more than 20 minute cat naps and we did decide to send him to the nursery the next night. Best. Decision. Ever. I requested they bring him in to me for feedings, but we still managed a full 3 hours of sleep before he was hungry and it was amazing. I truly believe that gave us the boost we needed. We went home the next morning feeling much more prepared!

    1. I can see myself needing to get some solid sleep too – esp. the next day when the adrenaline calms down.

      1. agree 100% – you’ll be up in the night with that baby for months to come so use that hospital time to rest up as best as you can!

    2. How lucky that you were able to stay 2 nights after a vaginal delivery. All I hear about is an overnight being covered by most insurances.

      But for a completely different perspective; I loathe hospitals. It’s where I chose to deliver with my midwife, but really cannot stand the places. So after each of my deliveries, we packed up and went home. My bed, my sheets, my food. And of course you’re tired with a newborn but I’ve never been able to sleep the night after giving birth and lived to tell about it.

      1. I’ll always be a hospital-delivering kind of girl, but one thing I’m so JEALOUS of with those that choose home birth is how relatively more relaxing it must be (relatively – at home or hospital, it’s not like you’re on vacation!) But at home no random nurses comes to draw your blood at 5:00 am or people empty the trashes at all hours of the night. You can eat what you want. Oh, and no questions of “Have you pooped yet?” and fearing they won’t let you go home until you’ve had a bowel movement at the hospital! Just a little less messed with at home (except for that little baby wanting to eat of course!)

  10. Very interesting. I was induced at 39 weeks due to my crazy edema/swelling. There was no health risk of my swelling as my blood pressure was great and my urine clear of protein. My doctor just felt that if we could speed along the process and relieve the swelling a tad sooner it would provide some much needed relief. It did for sure! I’m so thankful we got the show on the road (at 39 weeks I was barely 1 cm dilated).

    Also, we opted to send our baby to the nursery overnight and requested that the nurses bring her back to our room for each feeding. We got to rest in between feeds and it was so nice. I did not feel guilty about this decision at all. The overnight nurses were awesome and didn’t wake us unless absolutely necessary. Our opinion is your are about to enter into a world of sleep deprivation once you take baby home so why not squeeze in a few extra hours if you can?

    All of this is great food for thought!

    1. Brittnie, my experience was very similar to yours as far as the relief and lack of guilt I felt in choosing induction, and in choosing to send our daughter to the nursery on the second night. (After she screamed her way through the first!) Both were the right choices for us and I’m glad I made them.

      Induction was actually a very good experience — lay in bed watching reruns while I dilated, then got to suck on a gelato pop in the delivery room until I was ready to push!

      1. This sounds like my induction experience as well. I was induced at 41 weeks, got pitocin and an epidural, and have a happy, healthy 10-month-old girl now! Definitely wouldn’t have changed a thing.

  11. I think that there are way too many situations that could occur to say what is “right” and “wrong”. In my case, my first baby was born at 41 weeks via induction. My doc also doesn’t go past 41 weeks and I was checked since week 36 and hadn’t progressed at all. I received the pit and had my baby boy vaginally (no pain meds) 14 hours later. With my daughter, I chose to be induced on her due date, which was 40 weeks exactly (I knew when I ovulated both times since I was charting). With her delivery, same thing . . .checked since 36 weeks and no progression at all. Again, I received the pit and had her vaginally (no pain meds) 7 hours later.

    My husband and I wanted my daughter to be born on her due date so that she would share a birthday with her grandfather. My doc was fully supportive; she believed even if we waited a week I would have to be induced anyway (since I had not progressed at all and due to history with my 1st pregnancy). So just providing another perspective – you CAN have a vaginal med-free birth even with induction – I did it twice! 🙂

  12. I was induced at over 41 weeks and I would do it again. I 100% trust my doctor and he told me that my body would respond well to the induction and it did. I didn’t need pitocin and I didn’t get an epidural till I was 6cm. I choose induction because I was in so much pain in the end that I wasn’t sleeping, was vomiting and retaining water like nobody’s business. As for putting the baby in the nursery – like others have said, it’s the only time you really get to sleep and rest. Your body has just been through an overwhelming physical experience that it needs time to recover and you definitely don’t get that at home.

  13. I have a 7 month old who is still a horrible sleeper, but I must say…the first couple of days after birth (AKA the entire time you are in the hospital) most babies sleep a ton. she probably slept 7-8 hours in a row the first night. it all changed the day we brought her home, but the first few days are awesome!

  14. I had an induction with #2 at 40 weeks and one day because I did not want to spend Christmas in the hospital away from my 3 year old. I was grateful for the option!

  15. This stuff is so sensitive. Everyone has such strong opinions. I think the reason there are these procedures is because there is actually a legitimate need for them. However, I guess they aren’t always used that way. It’s sad because I wanted a natural birth so badly that I was petrified of going to the hospital when I was in labor because I thought I would be forced into something I didn’t want and the nurses/doctors wouldn’t be supportive (my Dr was not on call when I went into labor so unfortunately, I got a complete stranger!). In the end, I had a natural birth except that I ended up with a needed episiotomy. I was so scared about having that after being told in my birthing classes how unnecessary it was, but it totally wasn’t some evil thing. Baby popped right out after that and I healed fine. If there is a next time for me, I will be much more relaxed about it all and not get so worked up about what happens when I give birth. You seem to be trying to prepare yourself mentally to be flexible even if it isn’t possible to get your ideal birth so I hope it works for you!

  16. My son is 8 weeks old and my water broke at 38.5 weeks. The original doctor at the hospital didn’t believe me that my water broke since I wasn’t dilated at all so they sent me home. By the time I convinced my doctor my water broke (since I was still leaking) it was 15 hours later. You are supposed to have the baby within 24 hours so I had to be induced since my body did not start labor at all by itself. I wanted to do labor without an epideral but after being awake for 24 hours and on the pitocin for 7 hours with contractions every minute I cried uncle. Once I got the epideral I was able to get some sleep which helped me because I pushed for 3 hours before they had to use forceps to get my son out since his head was caught by my pelvic bone. I would never choose to be induced (not fun at all) and I have heard that getting an epideral too early can slow down labor. I think the best advice I received when I was pregnant was to have a plan and be prepared to throw that plan out the window. Due to the foreceps I had a fourth degree tear but I healed just fine within four weeks. My doctor said it was bad but better than being cut because jagged edges heal quicker and better than smooth ones.

  17. This is the first I have ever heard about tearing being preferred to episiotomies. Stitching up a straight incision is much easier and quicker than stitching up tearing

    1. The tears with episoios tend to be much more extreme as the baby comes out and turn into third or fourth degree. There is lots of evidence for this and most doctors no longer do them.

      1. it’s probably worth keeping in mind though that this sort of research can be misleading – since episiotomies aren’t routine these days and OBs are much less scalpel-happy, in the situations where they DO decide to cut one it’s usually where a 3rd or 4th degree tear is intrinsically more likely (e.g. forceps, vacuum delivery, macrosomic baby etc). So women who get episiotomies may be more likely to have 3rd or 4th degree tears simply because women who legitimately need an episiotomy to deliver are more like to have a 3rd or 4th degree tear. I know the research shows a correlation but it would be very difficult to prove a causation – just food for thought.

        In my experience with a forceps delivery the episiotomy actually saved me from a 3rd or 4th degree tear – I was ripping straight down and they used an episio to re-direct the tear to the side. I had a looong 2nd degree tear/cut, but it could have been much worse.

    2. Right…that is why OBs prefer (or preferred) to do them – they are the ones doing the stitching. But from the woman’s perspective (since it’s her body and all), there’s a laundry list of reasons that tearing usually works better.

    3. Tearing is much preferable, and also heals a lot better than an episiotomy. With a jagged tear it is stronger when it heals, because the skin, muscle, etc. knits together. With the episiotomy, the cut is in a straight line and the scar isn’t as strong if it tears again (with a subsequent birth, for instance) which can lead to a greater degree of tearing.

      I had an episiotomy with my first and it took about 3 weeks to stop being really uncomfortable to sit, go up stairs, etc. With my second they let me tear (while supporting where the epiosiotomy had been before), and I felt great right away. No discomfort (well, from the tear anyway!), and much faster healing.

  18. My blood pressure had been slightly elevated by last few drs visits and at just shy of 41 weeks I was induced. I think part of my blood pressure problem was being so anxious about labor starting because my awesome L&D nurse mentioned that it had been just fine the whole time I was in labor.

    They started me at 9 pm on a Monday night. Labor started pretty quickly and I got an epidural about 2 hours after the contractions got really intense..

    All told – I was in labor for about 10 hours and pushed for 45 minutes before my son was born.

    I understand the arguments against both but in a heart beat I would do the same exact thing. I was calm, his birth was stress free and easy. I did skin to skin and nursed him minutes after he was born but I had him in the nursery both nights I was in the hospital. I was sore and uncomfortable and after months of getting up multiple times during the night I DESPERATELY needed sleep.

    I know we both were the better for it. It was so much better for me to be more well rested for the huge transition to real life when I brought him home.

    This is what I chose. To each her own. No one should have to defend their choices when it comes to giving birth. A happy and healthy baby (and mother) should be the only end goal.

  19. With my oldest son I had a natural childbirth and it’s something I’ll never forget. With my second, he was lying transverse on the day before he was due. They persuaded us NOT to try to turn him because of all the things that could go wrong such as the cord getting wrapped around his neck. I ended up going into labor the next day and had a c-section because he was still transverse. My other two children that followed were also by c-section and I don’t feel like I have missed out at all with bonding. I think it’s just an individual’s perspective on what they feel about their own experience.

    I’m glad that I have been able to experience both.

  20. I think the point of the article is that these things are done electively – like choosing to have a c-section because you want the baby born on a certain day. I’d like to optimistically think that most choices that are made – by the mom, the doctor or both – are done for the best health of the mom and baby.

    I had multiple ultrasounds – the last one around 36 weeks – because the doctors were concerned about the development of one of my son’s kidneys. It turned out to resolve itself (a measurement wasn’t falling in the expected “range”) – but we wouldn’t have known that without the extra ultrasounds.

    In regards to the nursery – our hospital has the baby stay with the mom – there actually isn’t a “nursery” so you don’t have a choice. The nurses took the baby to bathe him and in our case, to run tests (little guy needed blood work for jaundice), but then he came right back to us. Looking back, it would have been nice to get a little sleep uninterrupted, just so I didn’t feel like such a zombie! We had lots of visitors too, so there wasn’t much rest. But I guess that was just preparation for going home and having to do it on our own, with no sleep. The positive to having him in the room for me was that it forced me to get up out of bed and move around. I think that helped with my recovery.

  21. Regarding dating and induction – in general babies start being safer out of the womb than inside starting around 41 weeks, and most MDs prefer not to let pregnancies get to 42 weeks to reduce the risk of meconium aspiration and fetal demise (among other risks, all of which increase significantly at 41 weeks). What they are talking about in this article are “social” inductions done before 40 weeks, often for mom’s (or doctor’s!) convenience or comfort.

    Re: the dating question – unless you have had some kind of assisted reproductive technology which allows you to know spot-on the dating, an early ultrasound is the best dating (early being first trimester, and the earlier the more accurate). As we all know ovulation does not take place on day 14 of the idealized 28 day cycle for most of us, and that’s what most dating calculators assume. So Kath, your ovulation tracking and its concordance with early ultrasounds looks like you’ve got a pretty good due date . Cheers!

  22. I am pretty “crunchy” and expecting to go all natural, no induction, so on and so forth (because hey, thinking positive is the way to go!) and I would totally agree with this list. That isn’t to say that people like Bekah should feel like they are judged by the same standards – if I was in her situation- I would be at the FIRST of the line to be induced – nothing is more important than a healthy live birth. I don’t think your comments are to reflect judgment but are really important for education. For those of us that read blogs and tend to be in this demographic, we generally KNOW the risks. However, I teach in a low income area and poorer demographic, and they DONT know what the risks are. I think you do a good job of presenting the information in a way that is pretty objective. No one should feel guilty for making a choice that is for the baby and the mother’s health.Thank goodness for doctors when we have women that medically need C Sections- because they literally save lives.
    That being said, I think it would be great for you to revisit this list after birth (since you will have ALLL this time on your hands 🙂 ) and tell us what worked for you and why – it would be great for those of us with buns still in the oven to know! Every birth for every woman is different!

  23. I think it’s a pretty good list.

    I had horrible back labor, an epidural that didn’t work, a baby whose heart rate dropped during contractions (cord was around her neck.) I had lots of medical intervention that led to a C-section. I still can’t help but feel like a failure about it. I wanted to labor longer at home. I wanted to wait longer for the epidural. But back labor (she was face up) made it really difficult for me to endure. And then I had to be on the monitor, even though I didn’t fight that since her heart rate was dipping, so it was hard to try alternate positions. And then impossible to get out of bed after the epidural, even though it didn’t work. So much went…not the way I wanted. So, lists like this make me think, “yeah, those are all great ideas.” I knew all that stuff beforehand. I just couldn’t hack it, I guess. And articles like that make me feel like a labor failure. My baby is healthy (now 15-months-old.) The C-section didn’t impact my bond with her at all. We struggled to get the hang of breastfeeding but we did finally succeed at it. I just will likely never get to experience a vaginal birth and that makes me sad, especially since I blame myself.

    1. I don’t think anyone is a labor failure because no one knows what it will be like – even if you’ve had 5 kids, one delivery could be different.

  24. Kath – totally agree wih your summation of the article.

    I elected to rupture the membranes to “speed things along.” I completely trusted my doc, and it DID make a difference. I’d totally do it again. I can’t imagine there is harm in it? Without the sac, the baby’s head puts more pressure on the cervix – which I think is the whole point!
    I’ve mentioned before about being pro-nursery. Even if baby sleeps through the night, they make a million noises. You will absolutely sleep better with baby in the nursery. And the mjh nurses are great!

    1. I know for a lot of women they work out fine, but I had an AROM and I’d never do it again. I was 5 cm and they offered it citing my progress was fairly slow and I might end up having a very long labour. Immediately after the pain went from 4/10 to about 9-10/10 and I needed an epidural, after getting through 11 hours of natural labour no problem – the baby also ended up being posterior and stuck during pushing which I’ve since heard can be related to over-rotation when the sac is suddenly brokenat an inopportune time, since the baby sometimes drops down suddenly when it’s done and can’t rotate normally since they’re not ‘buoyed’ by the waters. Not a common risk, but the day before and the morning of all my exams showed occiput anterior presentation, so it was very strange that the baby ended up the other way.

  25. I’m not sure I agree with the philosophy on VBACs being the way to go. My first was breech and my second pregnancy was twins and my doctor and I both agreed that the risk of placental abruption with a twin delivery made the c-section route the second time around a no brainer. I am now due with my fourth child in six weeks (in a new state with a new doctor) and neither she nor I hesitated a moment about going the c-section route again. I could not imagine choosing a VBAC at this point – I have three beautiful healthy children that I want to come home to. In my mind, a c-section feels like a much less risky decision than what could happen with a VBAC. Just my thoughts and another example as to why I believe these decisions are so very specific to each person’s history. For these authors to make a list suggesting that VBACs are a mistake is a bit inflammatory, IMO.

  26. People are induced because the human body is it meant to gestate a baby beyond so long – the placenta begins to deteriorate, there is less room for amniotic fluid, there is a better chance of meuconium aspiration.

    I was very lucky, as my water broke at 38w6d before contractions began, I labored for 17 hrs before getting an epidural, and only received pitocin for a few hours before transitioning to the paying stage. Still didn’t stop my baby from going to the NICU for a possible respiratory infection. We bonded WONDERFULLY despite not being able to nurse for the first 48 hrs, and I ended up EBF for nearly 16 months. Having said that, I absolutely would have gotten a c/s if my doctor – a professional in the business of delivering live, healthy babies. – had recommended it, and would have felt no shame in formula if bf’ing hadnt worked for us. The goal, in my opinion, is a live, healthy hold who loves you who you love back. Everything else is icing on a beautiful cake.

  27. Why on earth would a woman just consent to a “routine” episiotomy. That’s like consenting to a “routine” appendectomy. You just don’t consent unless it’s absolutely warranted!

    Great list and I had a few U/S’s after 24 weeks. A 3D one or 4D? Wouldn’t have traded those pics for the world!

  28. I wish VBACs were more common now. It seems like most women think that they have to have a C-section if they had one before. Plus, the risk is like 3%, I think, for the incision to tear open.

    I suggest sending the baby to the nursery for a while so the mom can sleep a little bit.


  29. Just a note on the artificial breaking of water. My doctor accidentally broke my water during a routine checkup at 40 weeks. As soon as that happened the 24 hour clock started and as the baby never got the memo that it was time, I had to be induced. I suspect that induction happens more often in cases where the water is broken early simply because there’s always a slightly higher risk of c-section with inductions. And as a general note of warning– I still to this day beliee that my doctor knew exactly what she was doing when she swept my membranes that day. Just Make sure you and your doctor or midwife are on the same page about induction.

  30. I’ve never given birth, so perhaps I’m speaking out of turn here, but I don’t see any reason that a woman should not have an epidural if she wants one. If she’s not allergic to the drugs, they don’t cause harm to the baby and they make labor easier, why not use them? Certainly it is every mom’s choice whether to have an epidural or do natural childbirth, but I don’t think epidurals are “overused.”

    1. Meredith, epidurals are associated with an increased rated of c-sections. C-sections involve, among other things, a longer healing time and greater risk of infection. C- sections aren’t BAD and are unavoidable in certain situations, but many women would prefer not to take these risks with themselves and their babies.

      1. Another instance in which I would take the correlation with a grain of salt. If you take two women with an equal ambivalence to epidurals, one with a very long and tiring labour and one with a short labour, who is more likely to get the epidural? And who is more likely to need a c-section, perhaps due to maternal exhaustion or fetal distress after all those hours of contractions and pressure, perhaps due to a poor presentation that was responsible for the very long and painful labour in the first place (breech and posterior labours often take WAY longer because of poor application of the presenting part). So women who are more likely to get epidurals are often women who have underlying complications that make labour longer and more difficult. I’m not saying there aren’t plenty of women who are scared of pain or don’t handle labour very well and get an epidural straight in the door – but then, aren’t those the sorts of women who may be more likely to opt for a c-section anyway?

        1. I guess I might be the antithesis to that – – I would very much like to avoid a c-section if possible and based on what I had read, inducing labor was more likely to start the chain of events towards c-section. However, I think epidurals are a gift from God. I try not to get one too soon – try to labor at home for as long as I can – and this next time I will try to see if I can have them put it at 75% power (if that’s possible, still looking into that). If I’ve got to feel a little bit, that’s fine, but I just want some major help in that department. I want to kiss the person who invented a way for women to get some pain relief during labor, but that doesn’t mean I’m pro all the other interventions. I very much want a smooth, vaginal labor if I can help it, and don’t mind at all getting someone to take the edge off the pain! So far, getting the epidural (which so far I’ve always seemed to be the LAST girl in the hosptial to have the anesth. doc come in…maybe I need to scream louder 😉 ) has still produced a typical labor time for me, no complications or delays or I would have them turn it down if I thought that was occuring. Anything short of losing that bit of pain relief to avoid the c-section if I can so help it.

  31. I’m sorry but any birth, no matter how it happens and what interventions are made), is “successful” as long as a baby and mom are healthy in the end. I didn’t go to med school, have a residency, fellowship, and I don’t practice medicine. No matter how educated I am, how many books and journal articles I read, my doctor knows what is best for me. (He works at one of the nations top hospitals and his practice is considered the best in Chicago). Yes, I’ll remain educated. (I work in medical research for crying out loud), but as far as the health of me and my baby- he is in charge and knows far greater than me. I wish more people had respect for their physicians and wouldn’t pass judgement on those who do medically have to have interventions. I really hope you get the “birth” you desire, but when that baby is in your arms you won’t really care if your birth plan was followed. You’ll just (hopefully) just care about his health.

    1. This is the kind of attitude that unnecessarily shames women who care about how their baby comes into the world. Many women who have difficult births end up having some emotional processing to do about the birth and it doesn’t make them bad mothers.

      This is how I see it: if your baby is NOT healthy, then of course you won’t be spending time thinking about the birth. You’ll be taking care of your baby. However, if you are blessed with a healthy baby, then you count your enormous blessings and have the time, space, and energy to dedicate to thinking about the monumental physical, emotional, (potentially) spiritual experience you went through in bringing baby to the world.

      Taking room to process a big life experience isn’t selfish, it’s healthy.

      I will not comment on you saying your doctor is in charge of your body and your putting birth in quotes except…sigh.

      1. I care about how my baby comes into the world, but in the end it really doesn’t matter to me as long as he and I are both healthy and well. I think it’s fine if people make plans and process their first deliveries, but it has just gotten to be extreme with in the past decade. I had a miscarriage and D&C at 9 weeks that was awful and I’m grateful for medical technology and advancements to allow me to be pregnant and monitored very closely this time.. The reality is my doctor is more educated about birth then me matter what I do unless I go to school for 12 years and deliver 400 children per year like he does year after year. We give INFORMED consent to our doctors to take care of us, perform necessary procedures and interventions, and there is NOTHING wrong with that.

  32. A lot of those points make me very annoyed. I chose to induce labor at 39 weeks, 4 days. My baby was measuring big (over 8 pounds on ultrasounds), and I was making zero progress on my own with going into labor. I did not enjoy the induction process, but would do it again. My doctor and I agreed that if I did not induce, it would be more likely I would end up with a c-section or end up eventually being induced to an even bigger baby. He was 8 pounds, 20 inches. A very healthy baby.
    And for the nursery thing, we absolutely sent our baby there while he napped so I could nap too. It wasn’t minutes or even soon after birth, it was later in the day and overnight so we could sleep.
    I was also continuously monitored for 33 hours. It wasn’t enjoyable, but necessary. Because my labor was long, at two times I needed oxygen because his heart rate was slowing. Oxygen picked it right back up, and allowed me to keep laboring, but how would we know without monitoring?

  33. I had a c section my first pregnancy and I had the same attitude towards birth going into it – I wanted natural, no drugs, etc. I ended up having a section due to fetal distress after opposing the section for hours and arguing with everyone in the room. I did vbac my 2nd baby and I think a lot of it has to do with attitude. Just relax and go with the flow. It good to know what you want and be prepared but the world will not end if you have a section and if you are super tense about the possibility of having one, it will not help things. Birth is a blip on the screen when it comes to having a baby . What comes after is much much harder and trying on everyone (and the most amazing thing ever)

  34. It’s funny what people think is “ideal.” Spending hours pushing a basketball out of your body isn’t the most ideal situation to me. Why can’t humans be like seahorses? Of course, I’m joking. But, it’s a nice thought. 🙂

  35. Hey Kath! This is a heated subject! I was wondering if you would consider doing a post on your expectations/feelings if your birth does not go at all how you planned? I know SO MANY women who might find this helpful-I think it’s increasingly common for women to plan, plan, plan and then not have their birth experiences to go at all how they wanted. There are a lot of emotions tied to this and I think preparing yourself for the disappointment is JUST as important as preparing yourself for the ideal birth.

    1. I am actually totally prepared for something to go wrong – I have no idea what to expect and even if I had already had a baby before, like we all know, every labor is different. I’m sure I’ll reflect in my birth story on what happened. I don’t think there is anything unhealthy about experiencing disappointment either – so long as it does not cloud the joy of having a new baby in general.

  36. Ina May Gaskin doesn’t take care of high-risk women. Her c-section rate is completely irrelevant – you can’t compare it to the national rate at all.
    From the New York Times:
    “Of course, comparing the Farm to hospitals is of limited value. Many hospitals deliver at least as many babies in a year as the Farm midwives have delivered in three decades. Women who give birth at the Farm are self-selected, and midwives screen them further, eliminating, for instance, women with complicated medical histories. Hospitals would undoubtedly have better outcomes if all pregnant women arrived in excellent health. ”
    Full article here:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/27/magazine/ina-may-gaskin-and-the-battle-for-at-home-births.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

    1. That’s a good point, but the WHO recommends around 5-10%, not to exceed 15%, taking into account all of those factors you mentioned. The rate in the U.S. was around 5% in the 60’s. Now we’re around 35%- but that is for *all age groups*, so the common refrain of “older mothers push up the rates” isn’t really true.

      Of course, those WHO recommendations are highly contested. However, I find it hard to believe that a 30% jump in about 50 years has nothing to do with at least *some* degree of overuse..

    2. The second to last paragraph of this article really hit home to me. I didn’t want a c-section (hadn’t read a single section of any of my books about them). I was so convinced from that scene in “The Business of Being Born” that my baby and I wouldn’t bond and that without the rush of hormones, we’d be robbed of our connection. Well, I have had 2 c-sections, nursed both of my babies exclusively for 6 months, and I have incredible bonds with both of my children. Not ideal, not “normal”, but I feel like moms need a glimmer of hope that they can still have a bond with their children despite a c-section.

      1. I’ve already expressed my thoughts above about fearmongering when it comes to bonding, but I think it’s a load of hooey to think that you won’t bond with your baby if they come out your abdomen versus vagina. Your ability to bond with your baby comes from your heart and mind, and other ways hard to put into words: it’s not subject to where the baby exits your body. I’m glad you realized that with your little ones!

  37. I was induced at 40 weeks 5 days with my daughter (now 6 years old) because she was measuring well over 9 pounds and my midwives were worried about her health and delivery if she got much bigger. She was actually…. 10 pounds 2 oz at birth and born without a c-section, just one tiny tear and very healthy after an induction – so it was a good choice for me!

    and as a followup because I know I always liked to hear about further experiences…

    3 years later I had my son at 39 weeks 2 days with a super quick delivery and he was petite at 9lbs 5oz. 🙂 also very healthy….

    You are getting so close to the finish line! And then the magic will really begin! Best wishes!

  38. I had a c-section after my labour failed to progress – despite having regular contractions for 12+ hours. My recovery has been really good, C and I bonded quickly, and my milk came in within a day! I wouldnt change a thing – the most important thing was that C arrived safely!

  39. I didn’t know this til I had my baby 14 months ago, but newborns actually sleep a lot the first couple of days. I felt I got a good amount of sleep, even with him in the room. And plenty of successful breastfeeding, no formula offered 🙂

    1. They sleep, but not necessarily in long, consistent stretches. Our first night in the hospital my daughter stayed right by my side — where she proceeded to wake up crying every hour or two, usually just after I’d managed to fall back asleep. On the second night I couldn’t hand her off to the nurses fast enough so I could just get a few hours of quiet! Sounds like you were one of the lucky ones.

  40. very interesting article and the discussion here! it’s great to hear different experiences and we have all one thing in common, which is to deliver a healthy baby. if that requires medical intervention, so be it! I realy like your approach of being open to alternatives!

    one question. did you hire a doula because you want to try natural birth without epidural?
    I’m asking this because today I had the ob appointment and asked him about hiring a doula and he says that it’s necessary only if you go for natural birth, if epidural will be used, no need for a doula then, what do u think?

    1. I hired a doula because I wanted someone by my side through the whole process who was experienced in birth. Yes, my goal is natural, but I also would like to have her opinion should I need some of these interventions. Since Matt and I have never been to a birth before, it’s the expertise in childbirth coaching we were after – and that can mean natural or not. If I was planning to get an epidural upon admission, I do think I might not need her there.

      1. Please excuse my ignorance, I don’t know much at all about this kind of stuff, but so does a doula go to the hospital with you (assuming you go to a hospital) and stays there in the room with you while you are giving birth? Is she there to help you through the pain and everything?

  41. “Inducing labor without a medical reason [This relates to yesterday’s post on the due date being an estimate. I’m not sure why anyone would choose induction – maybe a really serious date conflict?]”
    We requested to be induced so that my husband could be here (what with military duties and all…), but we took a more natural route, avoiding pitocin altogether. If you have to be induced, inquire about cytotec – that’s what I was given, and while the contractions were extremely regular, intense, and with small breaks between, I would do it over if I had to the chance to.
    “Sending your newborn to the nursery.” The second night in the hospital will be hell. Your milk hasn’t come in. The baby will be screaming because he wants milk. You will be tired because the first night, you will have stayed up late with your little man because you finally can HOLD him in your arms… We sent our babe to the nursery from 2AM to 7 AM on the second morning, and 8 hours later my milk came in. I needed those hours to rest, so don’t count it out just yet!

  42. I was induced at 42 weeks and 1 day and labored for 12 1/2 hours before I finally submitted to an epidural. She had the cord wrapped around her neck. She wasn’t breathing at birth. We didn’t even know her gender for several minutes after she was born because she had swallowed so much blood and amniotic fluid that she had to be intubated. Her Apgar score was 3.

    All of these things were, of course, not part of my plan.

    Fiona is now three months old. She is so exquisite she takes my breath away.

    Birth will happen the way it does. I am a 38 year old trial attorney and I am here to tell you: you are only along for the ride. All the “studying” and “preparing” in the world doesn’t ready you for the experience.

    But. The reward? Is so delicious. Don’t lose sight of it. At the end of the day? Every birth is natural.

    Best wishes.

      1. AMEN to that phrase as well.
        I’ve never much liked the “natural childbirth” term. Even though I got an epidural, I endured some nasty contractions and had to put all my effort into pushing that baby out my vagina just like those that refuse pain drugs. Unless somehow the baby is teleported out of your womb Star Trek style with no pain, discomfort, or healing involved, ALL births are natural (which includes c-sections – women go through the ringer too with that as well!).

        1. I really do not understand these comments; why are you so fixated on being able to say that all births are natural? All births are valid and awesome but not all births are natural. A natural birth is a medically defined term. It mean with minimal medical intervention. No doctor would say an epidural birth or a c-section is a natural birth because it does not occur in nature – hence it is not natural.

          Also, Kate, if you had an epidural, your birth was nothing “just like those who refuse pain drugs.” Accept the birth you had and embrace it, but don’t try to make it into something that it wasn’t. That’s like me saying my epidural birth was the same as someone’s c-section because we both ended up with a baby.

          1. “Natural birth” is definitely not a medical term. Unmedicated vs medicated and vaginal delivery vs c-section are the most common terms used. Every baby is a blessing from God regardless of how they enter the world!

              1. I stand corrected that it is a defined term, but it is not one that healthcare providers typically use in reference to a patient. “Patient A had a natural birth” is not something you would hear, rather “Patient A had a spontaneous vaginal birth with or without epidural”. The term “natural birth” would more likely be heard in someone’s birth plan, but not in the postpartum phase. I think this issue is not about definitions and what they mean because your comment was very aggressive towards Gin and the Kates. To imply that they have not accepted their birth experiences is offensive. The issue with this terminology, just like with using the term normal, is the flip side of everything. Needing medical intervention or wanting medication does not make someone’s birth experience unnatural or abnormal. The reason healthcare professionals do not throw around these terms in a postpartum setting is because they are judgmental and all that anyone should be focusing on is the health of the mother and baby. I think that it is great if women choose to have as few medical interventions as possible, but it doesn’t need to minimize someone else’s experience in the process. My comment about children being a blessing was for that reason: it seems that some commenters have lost sight of that and are more focused on putting people down, when at the end of the day all that really matters is a healthy baby and momma!

  43. I was induced at 40 weeks 3 days only because our insurance expired 3 days later (COBRA). If I could go back, I am not sure that I would make the same choice to induce ever again, unless it was medically necessary. I had planned a natural childbirth but wound up only having 2 hours of sleep the day of the induction (due to circumstances with our business that had to be dealt with in the wee hours of the morning). After 7 hours of very strong contractions, one on top of the other I consented to an epidural so that I could possibly get some rest. I also consented to rupture of membranes hoping to help me progress as I was not dilating very much (I was 1cm when I went in for the induction). I was able to sleep but my epidural unfortunately wore off every hour to 2 hours and at 4am (18 hours into labor) they told me that there was a decrease (not emergency) in the baby’s heart rate and recommended a c-section. I had a doula who was also a nicu nurse and she agreed. I was disappointed and scared but my main concern was that I wound up with a healthy baby girl. We did but in retrospect I know now that I wasn’t ready to give birth. My baby had not dropped the doula even confirmed that. I don’t know why they didn’t explain this to me to give my husband and I the choice but I was my first pregnancy and my Dr had gone off duty ( had another Dr from his practice but not the same) so I now feel like they just wanted to get it over with. My body wasn’t ready and that is why we wound up with a c-section. If we have another child I will never induce again unless it is something that is absolutely medically necessary. I didn’t send my daughter to the nursery other than for what was absolutely required because I wanted that bonding time with her.

  44. Interesting facts…thank goodness my doula was very informed and shed some light on these facts before I had my son. I wish I had known about the nursery though…it would have been nice to get some sleep the first night! The nurses (coming in every hour!!) were worse than my son waking up every once in a while!!!!

  45. I know you’ve probably got lots of stories about inducing.. I was induced with #2 because #1 was really late (9days) and also fairly large (10lbs). So my doc wanted to induce at 39 weeks with #2. But I put my foot down about that because even though she was big, I still gave birth vaginally with no issues or large tears or anything (by the way, I give credit to my large exercise ball that I sat on religiously in the last several weeks of my pregnancy).

    But since it was summer and humid and I was miserable, I did agree last minute to being induced on my due date. My cervix was very ripe though and I was already dilated 3.5 cm. I think, from what I’ve heard, that can be the difference between a smooth induction and a bad one.. whether or not your body seems really ready. In my case, I was given pitocin at 11:30a and Cate was born at 4:30p. So just about a 5 hour labor. But I felt so much better after I had her when before I’d started having trouble breathing because of the thick, hot air of July. And I had a hard time walking because after having a 10lb baby, there’s not a ton of support in your uterus (at least that’s something I had a hard time with in my subsequent pregnancies and during every period now). But I said no to a 3rd induction with Amelia. Not that it even ended up being an issue because #3 came 2.5 weeks early (still 7.5lbs though.. big babies!)

  46. All 3 of my children were induced – not by choice. My first was actually 4 wks early – I had toxemia..I had been put on bed rest (I was actually put in the hospital a wk before birth to try to bring my blood pressure down). They did a level 2 ultrasound to make sure she was developed enough – @ 35 wks she was all ready 7lbs 2 oz. When I gave birth – she was 7 14. They told me she would have easily been 10 + lbs. Same with my other 2 was induced – blood pressure was OK these rounds, but my babies were measuring really big. My son weighed 9 12, and my daughter 8 14..not extremely huge, but my doc told me anything over 7ish lbs I should had deliver natural, becuase of how my pelvis was shaped, I wouldn’t be able to take it. We I had all 3, both daughters natural, and son with a epidoral. I agree with the not doing it too soon, I was told I need to be at least 5 cm. As for the episiotomies, I had that with all 3 as well – my kiddos were too big – I had no problems, I think I rather a cut than a tear….but that’s my opinion.

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