Advice for Women About Cesarean and Vaginal Birth
As early as possible in pregnancy:
Arranging for continuous labor support can help you avoid an unnecessary c-section.
The booklet What Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Know About Cesarean Section (PDF) can help you set and reach your goals. It has a section with many tips to help you avoid an unnecessary c-section and have a safe vaginal birth. If this is your goal, it is important to become informed as early as possible and make and carry out your plans due to the current climate where more and more cesareans are being performed. You can also download Vaginal Birth and Cesarean Birth: How Do the Risks Compare? (PDF), the companion at-a-glance summary.
For most pregnant women who had a c-section in the past, a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is a reasonable choice. If this is your goal, it is very important to become informed as early as possible, plan ahead and put care arrangements into place. To learn more, decide and take action, see Should I choose VBAC or repeat c-section?.
You may have heard that vaginal birth is harmful, and a c-section will prevent incontinence later in life. There are many problems with this line of thinking. Before undergoing major abdominal surgery for this reason, get the facts:
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Childbirth Connection is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1918 as Maternity Center Association. Our mission is to improve the quality of maternity care through research, education, advocacy and policy. Childbirth Connection promotes safe, effective and satisfying evidence-based maternity care and is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families.
Most recent page update: 2/22/2007