Roughly one in three babies born in the U.S. are delivered by Cesarean section, but medical researchers say about half of those aren't medically necessary. Consumer Reports has suggestions on how to reduce your risk of an unnecessary C-section.
Low risk patient, Colleen Scott, planned to have a vaginal delivery with her first child. But that’s not what happened.
“The decision was made by the doctor on call that it doesn’t look like the baby is going to come out naturally and it seems like the best solution would be to do the C-section,” said Scott.
And that’s happening more often than it used to. Sometimes doctors or hospitals may rush a C-section simply because they think labor has gone on long enough or because the maternity ward is especially busy.
“Your biggest risk of having an unnecessary C-section could actually be the hospital where you choose to give birth,” said Lauren Friedman of Consumer Reports.
To reduce your risk of an unnecessary C-section, Consumer Reports offers some suggestions.
“One thing you can do is check-out our free hospital ratings online,” said Friedman.
That lets you compare hospitals based on how often they perform C-sections for low-risk cases.
Consumer Reports also says if you have a low-to-moderate-risk pregnancy, think about using a midwife. They don’t do surgery and they’ll only transfer you to a doctor if it’s medically necessary.
Also don’t rush to the hospital. Talk to you doctor or midwife and ask if you can wait until your contractions are three minutes apart, last for one minute and have been like that for one hour.
And CR says, once you’re at the hospital, don’t rush to induce labor.
“On its own there’s not necessarily a problem with a long labor as long as both mom and baby are doing ok,” said Friedman.
You can Consumer Reports’ free hospital ratings to see the scores for the hospitals in our area at cr.org/hospitalratings.