The C-Section as Birth Control

Did you know that women who experience cesarean birth (c-section) are less likely to have another baby?  Cesarean section impacts far more than the birth experience- it impacts fertility.

I talked to not one but two women this week who had one child but had wanted to have more. What happened?

The thing that made them change their minds was giving birth to their first child. And they gave birth via emergency cesarean section. They were both so disturbed by the experience that they decided that they would have no more children.

We often talk about the impact of the ever present c-section in our culture. People talk about how it can impact the breastfeeding relationship or recovery time or the difficulties in VBAC and even how lifesaving and wonderful it can be. These are all important factors. But there is something that is often overlooked.

The c-section is a cruel form of birth control.

I have talked to dozens of women who limit their family size because of c-sections. Sometimes it is because their c-section was unexpected, scary, and traumatizing. Sometimes it is because they were told that they "had" to have repeat sections and that they should limit their family size to three or fewer children for their own personal safety.

Whatever the reason, we must talk about this issue.
Roger W. Harms, M.D. of the Mayo Clinic, when asked how many c-sections a woman can safely have says this:" Most women can safely have up to three C-sections. Each repeat C-section is generally more complicated than the last, however."
He goes on to mention some of the risks of numerous abdominal surgeries. They include:

"Primary concerns with repeat C-sections include:
  • Weakened uterine wall. Each uterine incision leaves a weak spot in the uterine wall. This may interfere with future attempts at vaginal birth.
  • Problems with the placenta. The more C-sections you've had, the greater the risk of developing problems with the placenta — such as when the placenta implants too deeply and firmly to the uterine wall (placenta accreta) or when the placenta partially or completely covers the opening of the cervix (placenta previa).
  • Heavy bleeding. The risk of needing a hysterectomy — removal of the uterus — to stop excessive bleeding after delivery increases with the number of repeat C-sections."
So- in general women are cautioned against having more than three surgical deliveries for the above mentioned reasons.

I have met so many women though who never move past that first traumatic birth experience. To me this is one of the unspoken tragedies and cruelties of modern birth. Whatever you think of family size and population control, it is exceptionally distasteful that the way we damage women at the time of birth is so traumatizing both physically and emotionally that they actually change their life and family plans because of it.

We can talk all day about the monetary cost of the c-section or about how it saves lives or about bacteria in the birth canal and trouble breathing, but you can not put a price on the damage we are doing to women.

This is cruel. This is abusive. This is wrong. And- this is how we are treating women at the time of their babies births. We are literally hurting women so deeply that they are scared to death to ever bear another child.

How often does a normal, natural, un-medicated birth do this?

I want to share some comments from a mom forum regarding this subject. These women say it far better than I ever could.

"My doctor has said that since I had so much scar tissue from my third c-section, that he doesn't recommend that I try it again. We've decided to take his advice. Our third child died because of malformed kidneys, and my heart is longing for him, but we are blessed with two others, and God has seen us through it all. I know that if He means for us to have another, thought it may not be ours biologically, it will be a gift from Him. My advice to those who really want another child, but the circumstances don't favor it--pray for guidance, listen to your doctor, and be content with the blessings that you do have."

"i had two c-sections so far i am pregnant now and having 3rd c section soon. my dr keeps pushing me to have my tubes ties but i am married and only 25 i dont want to get tubes tied dont know what i should do???i have 2 boys dont know what this is? should i risk a 4th? or get tubes tied??"
I am absolutelty scared to give birth, my husband and i trying to get pregnant again, i had c-section in August with my first baby and the recovery was horrible thanks to a hospital error that resulted in sever staph infection and blood infection. I really want to go naturally next time but im scared to death, especially since DD's head was 15 inches when she was born,"

I must not be the only person who finds these sentiments so incredibly tragic. Women are yearning for more children. Women are being pushed into not just unwanted c-sections, but unwanted tubal ligations. Can we even describe how cruel this is?

Lest it seem like I am just inventing this problem after talking to a few women (in fact I have talked to numerous women through the years who get their tubes tied after their 2nd or 3rd c-section or who are so upset by the ordeal of the first birth that they simply stop trying on their own) let's look at a huge documented
study supporting this fact: women who have c-sections have fewer children.

In fact, the study found that, "women who underwent C-section to have their first baby were 12 percent less likely to have another child than women who gave birth vaginally."

You can read the study in full here, which concluded, "This suggests that the reduced fertility was to a large degree voluntary and not related to the indication, nor to any physical consequence, of the cesarean delivery."
There are women who have half a dozen or more c-sections safely. There are women who love their surgical births. There are women who have traumatic births and go on to have wonderful empowering births later. But we can not ignore the fact that the impact of the prominent cesarean section is far deeper and damaging than anybody cares to admit.

We are talking about a surgery that is done about 30% of the time in the USA. We are talking about surgery that is the most common surgery for women. This is also a surgery that not too many years ago was done only about four percent of the time. The fact that the c-section is limiting family size is no laughing matter.

We can not ignore the impact of modern birth on the modern woman. We must take back our choices, our bodies, our births and our families. I wish I could say that there are others out there that will help us do this, but I just don't believe it any more. We must own our choices, face our fears, and give birth under our own power.


Alisha Stamper said…
thank you for this post. From a religious perspective, being LDS, I am more and more concerned about this because I think that we as spiritual women need to protect our ability to bring spirits down. Having a 3rd party limit our ability is INSANE. Last days are not the time to be "ho hum" about our bodies while everyone else is jacking theirs up via cosmetic surgery. I mean, gosh, sometimes women talk about the "benefits" of c-sections that they do a little "tuck" after. SO AWFUL. Its absolutely unacceptable to me as a woman who believes God created my body PERFECTLY to not trust it to do what it was created to do-- ie, birth babies. It is strong and so am I. Sorry to be slightly ranty, but I am pregnant (#3) and passionate about birth truths.
Motorsport_Mama said…
Thankyou... Here in Australia we are facing the prospect of VBAC's being harder to come by. Especially at home. I as a Mum to 1 and hopefully another 1 in the next year, need to either find a way to have an empowering birth without fear of persecution or I won't have any more babies.

That seems like a pretty drastic thing to say to some people (Especially women who love their surgeries) but I can't put my family through that again. I don't care as much about me, but I find that when I'm not 100% mentally and physically, as I wasn't after my son's birth, I am a dead weight for them.

You mention that the wounds that are done to these women are deep. That is true. But who is going to measure the impact this has on Husbands, children and subsequent children?! My son is great, but I think he bears emotional scars of having a mentally absent mother for the first 12 months of his life.

But as we've been finding in this HBAC fight... the people that make the rules don't care that even though I am 26 and married, that I won't have any more children. By the sounds of those comments you took from the forum about Tubes getting tied it sounds like they don't want us "Defective" mothers breeding anymore anyways!!!
Sabine Lavine said…
It's both tragic and unacceptable that women cannot rely on their doctors for the truth, or trust that their recommendations are the best course of action. The vast majority of women who are pregnant for the first time believe that their doctors have their best interest at heart. After all, why wouldn't they? If you didn't know better you'd think all this talk about birth trauma is just paranoia.

It's not usually until after a woman has gone through a traumatic birth that she begins to investigate and realize just how common it is for women to feel traumatized after a c-section. It's a dirty little secret that gets pushed to the side because we don't feel like we're supposed to complain as long as the baby is healthy. We have a long way to go in acknowledging that the mother's experience absolutely does matter in childbirth. How could it not?
Robyn said…
Thank you for this post. I am LDS and an ICAN chapter leader and have had the same conversation with women about how c-sections have impacted their family size. It breaks my heart because I know I would not have had 5 babies if it had not been for my own VBAC. My first was a c-section. I was scared after that c-section to have more but I decided to educate myself and it made all the difference. I just can't imagine not having had my 5 children (especially after my second child died when he was 2.) It is a cruel form of birth control. The fight for VBAC is real and oh, so important!
Meredith said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meredith said…
With my son we planned a home birth. We actually interviewed and met the midwife before we conceived. My mother gave birth naturally so I knew I could as well. Our local hospital is such a mess I could not think of the danger of walking in those doors. I labored at home for 36 hours but rising blood pressure forced us to transport. We drove 45mins to another hospital because they would be more receptive of home birth than our local. After mag-sulfate and a doctor violating me, by manually dilating me, I went in and had a surgical birth. There were MANY times in my PP period that I swore I would not have another child which says a lot because I have always wanted 12. It was horrifying to be wheeled off when all my body wanted was to push my baby out. I still have doubts, not about having more children but if I can mentally survive if it happened again.
Kathryn said…
I am also LDS. My first birth was a c-section. It freaked me out. I, too, thought that the number of children I would be able to have would be severely limited. To my surprise, I wound up pregnant again 9 months after my c-section, but thanks to the research I had done about VBACs, I felt like I could do it. And I did. It took my first vaginal birth to realize that I didn't have to be as limited as the grim post-cesarean appointments had told me.

That first mother's comment really pulled at my heartstrings. I also lost my third child shortly after his birth. I could not imagine not being able to have another child. It felt like a biological imperative to me. I had to.

My husband and I would like a couple more children in addition to our three living. Still, the idea of a second cesarean looms large to me. A cesarean might have saved the life of my third, so I am much more accepting of the idea.

I had a friend who also had a cesarean with her first. I encouraged her, along with many others, to try for a VBAC with her second. The doctor insanely decided to induce her labor and, while she delivered vaginally, her uterus ruptured. She required several blood transfusions and had a drastic hysterectomy. Her cesarean plus the decision of the doctor to induce gave her permanent birth control. It was heartbreaking for them as they had both wanted large families.

C-sections have so many untold or hidden consequences. Thank you so much for writing about this.
Jessica said…
I am a 2x c/s mama. I hated both of them they were horrible traumatic experiences. The healing took ever so long. and that was just the pysical part. The mental strain? 2 years out I am mostly ok. Well, as ok as I think I can be. My VBAC didn't happen bc DS didn't have his chin tucked. I now know that he couldn't bc I had muscle damage from the first c/s. I am doing lots of healing work with a cranio-sacral MT in prep for one more baby. If the next pregnancy ends in (God firbid) another c/s, it will be the last baby I give birth to. Whatever kind of birth surgery is.

My oldest definietly bears the scars of being a c/s. And not just emotional, they cut his back. (mildly but still happened)

I cannot put my husband, our marriage, my family or my BODY through more of this torture. It makes me sick to think about, but it is true. C/S may be my birth control too.
Thank you for this article. This is what I've tried to articulate before but you've done it so much better than I ever could. I'm posting a link to this on my blog as I think it is such an important thing to talk aboout.
I had an emergency c-section that was the hospital's fault. I knew we wanted to have more kids, and was determined to never have that happen again. I have now had three very successful homebirths. Two of which I know for a fact would have ended up as c-sections in the hospital.
I feel bad for those that think they can't have more, because they had a c-section. I also know of two or three moms that have had multiple c-sections. I know it can be done.
Linda Peterson said…
being in Provo, UT (where the busiest maternity ward in the country is), the most frustrating thing is seeing that women who get unnecessareans don't even realize at first that this makes all their future births more dangerous. there are so many young moms here who completely buy into the paternalistic OB model of things, and trust their way right into major abdominal surgery. i struggle, because i want to tell them the truth--i want to tell them that their doctors have lied to them, or that their C happened because of pitocin, but i feel like the last thing they need in their difficult period of C-recovery is being told, "oh, you went through this because a man lied to you, not because you were being noble and sacrificing to save your baby." does anyone have any advice on how to let women know that their doctors were dishonest?
Cynthia said…
I don't have personal experience with c-sections (my first came close but my doctor did not want to do one if he didn't have too, and I was successful...with his help/encouragement) but my sister in law just had her 5th c-section. We have the same OB and he told her 4 was probably the limit but after #4 he told her that she had healed so well that a fifth was not out of the question. Number 5 arrived last week - I think that it always depends on the doctors involved. Like so many women say, do your research and get a supportive OB or Midwife and do what is right for you.
Jade Jymson said…
"How often does a normal, natural, un-medicated birth do this?"

The answer is all the time. Women died many times during childbirth or had close calls that scared them away from sex forever. Teh pain of childbirth left many women fearful of sex itself. Queen Victoria herself said that bearing children was her punishment for loving to be with her husband.

As for me, it is now believed that the hours I spent in all natural childbirth were tragic enough to cause a cronic pain condition. I'll never be the same and I have an illness that is going to be with me for the rest of my life.
Sarah, this was a fabulous post. I will repost when I'm back on a regular computer. The comments have also been excellent and REAL.

Interestingly, Utah, Idaho, and New Mexico have the lowest c-section rates in the country. My four children have been born in two of these states.

I see another side of the coin here that concerns me, and this is women who say, "My mom had all six of us by c-section. It's totally safe." Women are not warned of the dangers of repeat c-sections, only the "danger" of VBACs. Fascinating.

Thanks again for starting this conversation. I see everyone and their grandma has re-posted. I'll end up being the last because of vacation. Oh well. Another Tim McGraw show (#14) under my belt. :)
Mama Birth said…
Thanks for all your stories mamas- and congrats Donna! Hope you had fun you crazy lady. I miss you-
Janie said…
OH MY GOSH... I blogged about this same topic!!
And I could have said the exact same thing as the first commenter!

I think just as much as I am scared by this happening to women is women letting it happen and not fighting it.
Melanie said…
I'm a c-sec x4 Momma and while we tried not to let this decide our family size, it ultimately did. My 3rd c-section recovery was horrid due to PPH, a d&c for retained placenta, and 4 blood transfusions. I was terrified for my 4th section (that I just had July 5th) and the accompanying tubal ligation. Hubby and I possibly wanted more children but figured that the ever increasing risk to me wasn't worth it. I was also just told during this final section that my uterus had a "window". It's extremely upsetting to me that family size seems forced on these women because of c-sections. I pray more women find your blog. My husband and I were young and naive with our first child and section and remained pretty ho-hum through the second as well. After our third I was angry and upset, I missed so much bonding time with my daughter and never even gave breastfeeding or pumping a shot. My husband who was a bit skeptical at first kept listening and before long he's telling other guys whose wives are pregnant not to just be pushed into a c-section and to do their research. Thank you for the truths that you bring to light to help women "fight the machine".
JoyFilled said…
Interesting post...and I completely agree with you.

From another perspective, having not even HAD a c/s, the IDEA of having one scares the heck out of me, because I feel like once I do, my options are SO limited (stubborn OB's, strict midwife regulations, my comfort birthing unassisted after a cesarean, etc). The thought of how I'd continue to birth like I WANT to after a cesarean really freaks me out, unfortunately. Thankfully I fully understand all I can do to avoid an unnecessary c/s (which, first and foremost, means birthing outside of a hospital, Lord-willing), but if I ever did need one, I fear it would really impact the way I viewed my future births.
Anonymous said…
I had a natural, unmedicated birth with a CNM. My baby is 5 months old. I'm still not sure I ever want to have another - not necessarily because the birth itself was so traumatizing (though it's not a very pleasant memory), but because WHAT IF? As a pregnant woman, I didn't feel safe. I've heard too many horror stories of C-sections gone wrong, births gone wrong, doctors ignoring women, doctors doing procedures to women while they are screaming that they don't consent....Plus then there's the whole nature thing, you know, where your baby can just randomly die for no reason, before and after birth. I don't know if I can do the whole pregnancy and birth thing again, and I had a pretty good birth, though it was a hard one. I do think that if I had been at a hospital, I would have ended up with a C-section due to their interventions.
Kayce said…
I am LDS, had an emergency (unnecessary) cesarean with my daughter. We always wanted a big family, but my cesarean has caused us to suffer through secondary infertility. We have a lot of trouble getting pregnant since, and when we do get pregnant, I lose those babies within six weeks.

I never knew that a cesarean could cause so much damage, physically and emotionally, to me. I think my daughter suffered so very much the first year of her life because I had a very hard time loving her because of what happened.

The idea that I might not be able to have more children because of my cesarean rips my heart out. Every single day I regret what happened when pregnant with her.
Maegan said…
I actually struggled with this after my first baby. It was traumatic...I felt horrific after (emotionally as well as physically). I SWORE to my husband...WE WILL NOT HAVE MORE CHILDREN IF I HAVE TO DO THIS AGAIN.

Three years later I was pregnant...It was unplanned. I fought hard to be given a TOL. In the end my baby turned very very late in birth (38+ weeks) and the concern was that there was something wrong with her head & brain development. She was footling breech, and I didn't have a proven pelvis. My TOL was going to happen at home b/c of the laws regarding midwives delivering VBAC babies. I did not think it would be safe to attempt a VBAC at home with a footling breech on a newborn that may have problems surviving.

I made the decision to opt for a second c-section. Then I cried for 4 days straight. And I cried the night before. I was so worried everything would be exactly like the first time...That I would leave the hospital feeling injured & broken.

My baby was delivered healthy & okay (and no, I don't think this was one of those bait & switch sections...My midwives were doing everything possible to get the baby turned and even hid my files from their officer manager who would have told me immediately to transfer my care).

We're considering now planning a third child...I'm not really considering what would happen during labor & delivery.

I remember when I had to get approved for my VBAC/TOL I had to see a doctor a few hours away. He brought up the concerns mentioned in the article...and then said, "Once a year I volunteer in somewhere Texas...And almost every year I help deliver Mrs. Hernandez. She's had 13 c-sections. Her babies are all born healthy." We discussed it further and he was basically saying, "A c-section won't limit the number of children you want to have..." Which was the exact opposite of the 20 or so doctors I'd talk to before. They all wanted to cut me off at 2. Do I want 13 babies? Probably not...but I'd like the OPTION to have 13 babies...
A Cheerleader said…
Suddendly there was no movement. Days away from my due date no more kicks or hiccups. Thank God for the c-section that saved my daughter's life. She spent a week with plummeting blood sugar, temperature and platelet counts in PICU being tube fed. We were hours away from an unexplained stillbirth. C-sections are not traumatic; dead babies are traumatic.
Rachel Maria said…
I had a amazing 6.5 hour labor, drug-free, on my knees, wonderful natural birth. And I NEVER want to do it again! Not traumatized, just don't want to go through that pain EVER again. I'm very interested in adopting a baby after my son in weaned, but as a single mother it's pretty slim (but I can dream).
grandsan6 said…
I am the mother to 4 boys, all born by c-section. I never really bonded well with my 1st, whereby my husband did. He was born about 8pm and the 1st cuddles I had were not til next morning! By the time I had the 2nd, we had moved 450k from the city to a large regional centre with some 20,000 people. Having had 1 c-section, I was scheduled to have another, as I was with 3 & 4. This time I cuddled my baby soon after returning to the ward and was awake enough to hold him. The same with number 3. I was also successful in breastfeeding t2 & 3 but not number 1. These 1st 3 c-sections were all by general anaesthetic which also affected the babies, making them drowsier and harder to feed. Number 4 c-section was totally different. firstly I had an epidural so was awake the whole time. whilst they did weigh him etc straight away, it was in the theatre then he was given straight to me. My husband & I then cuddled him together while they finished up the op before I was transferred straight back to the ward. My son was put in a humi-crib as hospital policy until the staff were happy with him and he had had at least 1 feed. I feed him within the first hour of returning to the ward and we bonded better than any of the others. We knew the risks of having more than 3 c-sections butt we had always planned 3 - 4 children so we decided the risk was worth it. Whilst I knew all the arguments re c-sections, I do not regret that decision. My only regret was not having an epidural for the 1st 3 as it did affect the bonding process and I was unable to cuddle them as soon as they were born. As for now, 29 years since I had my 1st child, my advice to any new mum is to avoid a c-section as long as you can, even though I had no regrets there, BUT, if you must have a c-section, go for an epidural and insist upon not only cuddling your new child asap after delivery, but also be firm in what is done when. I am lucky in that I am now quite close to my 1st child but that has taken 27 years!!
ruzzel01 said…
It is definitely needed to some other countries. For they are being over populated due to lack of knowledge about family planning.

obgyn gilbert
Unknown said…
I am mom to 9 children my first 3 were home births. With my 4th child my midwife took us to get a non stress test as my child was almost 3 weeks late and we were lied to and ended up with him being induced. When from 4cm to completely dialated and delievered in less than 15 mins. My 5th son we labored at home and made it all the way to 10 cm but hardly any contractions or urge to push. My water was broken he was in a weird postion but after hours in labor I freaked out and we ended up going to the hospital although we both were fine. We thought that they could give me a little pitocin and I would be able to push him out, but the hospital wouldn't hear of it and did a c-section. We tried for a VBAC with number 6 but at 9 cm my labor stoped. The midwifes and I ended up at the store walking around trying to get my labor started again. After 24 hrs of my water being broken we ended up at the hospital where the dr basicly accused our midwife of malpractice for even allowing us to try for a vaginal birth and gave us another c-section. We just wanted him to give a touch of pitocin to jump start my labor. Anyway after that our midwife said she was not legally allowed to do a VBAC since we had had 2 c-sections. We found a ob that was willing for us to try a VBAC but that wouldn't happen either because she would allow be to go more than a week past my due date. Well needless to say every one of my children has been 2-3 weeks late never before. My 2nd child was a week late exactly but he was also my biggest. Out midwife always said our babies never looked past due but right on time. But no doctor will allow patients to go past 1 week past due so I ended up with another c-section. Well I have had a total of 5 c-sections now and our dr said that she couldn't give me a true medical reason not to have another baby. Now as far as scar tissue from the research I have done they cut out the old scar when they do the new c-section so there is just the one scar and when has scar tissue ever been a weaker area and not a tougher area. Alot of doctors will tell you that you can't have more than 2 or 3 c-sections but it is not true and research doesn't support what they are saying. I hope more people learn to research what they are being told and stick to what they believe. I would so love to go back to a home birth or even a birthing center birth or even just a vaginal birth at the hospital. But I will not let someone tell me I can not have another baby because I have had a c-section when there is no reason to support that remark.
Unknown said…
I am the mother of seven. The first five were born naturally even if there were complications. I had premature urge to push with all of them, one 6 week preemie, one transverse and one posterior.

The sixth baby was an emergency section after over 4 hours of pushing. Turns out he had Cranio Stynostis where the skull plates are fused. There was no possibility of a vaginal birth for him.

I was traumatized. As a "natural tendencies" mom and a lactation advocate, that emergency section followed by a blood clot and weeks of appointments at the childrens hospital for his birth defect it is no wonder I had severe PP psychosis by the time he was a year. It was a long and hard recovery but we did it w/o perscription meds only supplements.

Baby #7 was a chosen c section after almost 8 months of thought research and prayer. The risks of hemmorage and death were just too high for me. I was on blood thinners for a clotting disorder. The first few days were great until the incision came open. The recovery after that was horrible and i used a wound vac for almost 2 months.

I chose to have my tubes tied for a number of reasons, One this was baby #7, two my age, three my blood clotting disorder, four the recovery.

Had either of my sections been my first few children, I would have stopped. The PPD and the recovery were major factors.

While uneccesary or unexpected sections can be deeply traumatizing and wounding sometimes the Dr. is not lying and it is medically necessary. W/O that first section both me and my baby would be dead.
Unknown said…
To A Cheerleader, with respect, but both are traumatic. I've had a caesarean and I have a dead baby (as you so bluntly put it). Both were traumatic, and the pain and trauma of one do not in any way lessen the impact/pain/trauma of the other. It's not a matter of competing traumas, it's a matter of acknowledging that caesareans TOO are damaging to mothers, not only physically but emotionally as well.
Anonymous said…
I had an emergency c section with my first baby 3 months ago. A prolonged labor caused a tear to both sides of my uterus and i had a heavy bleed which resulted in me losing 4 and a half units of blood. I had a blood transfusion as well as frozen plasma and clotting elements. I was awake for most of this and remember thinking 'am i going to die' it was very traumatic for my husband and i. After all this trauma they put me under GA and continued to try to 'put things right.' WHen it came to waking me up they couldn't. Too much fluid had ended up on my lungs and they had to keep me sedated over night and the next day. The consultant told my mum and husband 'this could go either way, we don't know why she won't wake, prepare yourselves. This meant i didn't meet my little girl until she was over a day old. Thankfully after chest ex-rays etc they managed to safely gradually let me breathe by myself and eventually, after 3 days of being in intensive care(my baby being looked after by my husband and at night by the midwives) i was allowed to go to the high dependency ward with my baby. Thankfully i was lucky this time, but my little girl will be an only child as the experience of my birth has completely terrified me.
Anonymous said…
Great post. I am convinced that c-sections limited our family size. Both times were traumatic to my wife and soured my whole view of medicine. The endless tests to find out we had a normal child in the end is frustrating and demoralizing. It is an unintended type of population control that seems to stem from insane insurance rates due to lawsuits from vindictive patients or juries.
Unknown said…
"How often does a normal, natural, un-medicated birth do this?"

My daughter's birth was intensely traumatizing. I have almost no memories of her birth or the first 18 months of her life due to a combination of PTSD and postpartum depression. I have continuing issues with pelvic pain and dysfunction. I'm terrified of ever becoming pregnant again, to the point where I've asked my doctor about a hysterectomy. All of this is due to a "textbook perfect, easy" vaginal delivery: barely 20 minutes of pushing, no tearing, very little immediate pain, no separation from the baby, breastfeeding established within 15 minutes.

I'm not suggesting that a c-section would have been less traumatic for me, especially as I have issues with anaesthesia working properly, but it's also unfair to say that vaginal birth is inherently less traumatizing because it's natural and non-surgical. Trauma is a peculiar thing. What is acceptable for some people turns into a nightmare for others. In contrast, many of my friends who have had c-sections did not have lasting issues as I've had.
Thank you so much for this! My first was a csection with an inverted T incision and a 9lbs 8 oz baby that they said "never would have fit" and I was told to never labor. Number 2 was a repeat csection where I was put under because of a failed spinal, number three was a healing vba2C in a freestanding birth center and I just had my second VBA2C in April. I feel so strongly that if I had not listened to the strong feelings of the spirit guiding me with my third birth that my fourth may not be here. We also feel that we are not "done". Thanks for sharing this and for all you do!
Becca said…
I have had 3 C-sections and will be having my 4th soon. While it is not what I would have chosen, I am deeply grateful for them. And for the doctors who performed them. Without them I would not be here, nor would my beautiful babies.