By Melissa Frey
EUGENE, Ore. — The cesarean delivery rate in the U.S. continues to climb and after having a c-section, its rare for women to have a vaginal birth.
Less than 10 percent of women go on to have a vaginal birth after a previous c-section. But the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is hoping to change that.
They’ve released new regulations, encouraging patients, doctors and hospitals to consider not only the risks, but also the benefits of vaginal births.
I met up with one mom and doctor who’s been through all of this together.
“I was 12 days overdue, and I kept telling Dr. Beyerline don’t induce me, I’m going to go into labor on my own, I’m going to have a natural birth. Women have been having babies for centuries, I can do it too,” said Kelli Heacock.
That moment eventually came, but after four hours of pushing, Dr. Beyerline said it was no longer safe to keep going. And like many women, Kelli Heacock had to have an emergency c-section.
“Going through labor without any pain medication or anything, I was just beaten, I was just exhausted, and then to hear, ‘oh by the way, now you’re going to go through major surgery’,” said Heacock.
Aside from the trauma and pains she went through from the surgery itself, Kelli was also worried about what it meant for the future.
“I think that’s what saddened me the most, was oh no, now I’m pre-destined to have to have a c-section each time,” said Heacock.
Two years later, Kelli was pregnant again. Like most women in her predicament, Kelli assumed a second c-section was the only option. But Dr. Beyerline explains not only do women still have options, it can actually be safer for the mom if a c-section can be avoided.
“The risks of hemorrhage, injury to organs, potential blood clots, risk with anesthesia,”, said Kelli’s Obstetrician, Dr. Beyerline, “For the mom, by far and away, the safest route of deliveries is a vaginal delivery.”
There is a risk though, if that old scar separates during a vaginal birth, the baby could lose oxygen.
“Most of the time you’re trying to weigh what is the safest thing for the mom, the baby and combined,” said Dr. Beyerline.
Despite that, Kelli says the decision was easy, she knew how hard the surgery was the first time and as long as Dr. Beyerline said it was safe, she was determined to at least try.
“At that point I would have a two year old son who was a big boy, and I thought how am I going to take care of him and then be out for, you know six weeks, not being able to lift more than five pounds…not being able to run around, walk around, and I thought I have to try for that,” said Dr. Heacock.
In the end it all worked out. Not only for baby number two, but for number three as well. Experiences Kelli says she’s extremely grateful to have gone through.
“A trial of labor is a great option for the vast majority of women,” said Dr. Beyerline.
And if your faced with this decision, Dr. Beyerline recommends that you become well informed on the topic and talk through all the options with your health care provider.