Thursday, May 12, 2011

Birthrights: The risk of choice

Al Jazeera remains one of the most trusted news networks today. They have started an amazing series called "Birthrights" which follows birth trends around the world.

The story in the video of the couple who could not find a OB willing to deliver their baby naturally is disturbing. The woman had no reason to even consider a Cesarean this time around. Can you imagine having no voice and no choice during your birth- completely based on medical convenience? Your Dr will go on to treat several other patients but you will always remember the day you give birth.

Unfortunately, the trend here in North America is to have a medically induced birth with several interventions and if all else fails a Cesarean birth. The Cesarean and induction rates are alarming! 30% of women here in North America are getting Cesareans! However, the natural birth movement is making its way back and people are starting to realize that giving birth is NOT a medical problem and should not be treated like one.

Sure there is a small percentage of women who qualify for a Cesarean birth. The majority of women are not high risk and have a very good chance of a vaginal delivery.

If you have had a Cesarean in the past, you can still opt to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). I would encourage all of you to make informed decisions and research these topics in great detail.

If your Gynecologist suggest a Cesarean- ask questions, ask for alternatives and most importantly ask for a second opinion!

"Not convinced by their reasons? Say no . Many mothers do not realize that they have the right to refuse ANY intervention , including tests, induction, heparin locks (IV’s), fetal monitoring, epidurals, pain medication and cesareans. It is your choice to deliver your baby in a hospital. It is your choice to consent to each and every step along the way. You have the right to informed consent for vaginal birth. Ask what, if any, forms you need to sign in advance to indicate that you understand the risks involved and that you intend to deliver your child vaginally." (Advice from: theunnecesarean)

I absolutely agree with the point above. As a Doula I see way too much pressure towards induced births- especially when are not necessary! One intervention leads to domino effect and becomes a cascade of interventions. You give one a little room and the other is sure to follow. Want an example? You say yes to induction and epidural shortly follows.

What do you guys think? Are Cesareans over rated? Anyone have a successful VBAC?

For more information check out: theunnecesarean


  1. a lot of people are choosing to do c-sections because it is "convenient" for the patient and the physician. It is absurd but its becoming a more popular trend!

  2. Umm Abdir RahmanMay 14, 2011 at 7:56 AM

    Induction = Epidural = Cesarean! This is SO true. I lived through it with AR's delivery, Alhumdulillah, Allah swt made it easy for me and answered my mom's dua and I dilated 5 cm in 2 hours!! (after epidural). And the best part was the nurses had everything ready for C-section, and the dr. was shocked and wouldn't believe it. My nurse was Awesome/kind/sweet...May Allah open her heart to Islam. Ameen

  3. Umm Abdir RahmanMay 14, 2011 at 7:57 AM

    It's like a cycle, one thing results in the otther thing to take place.

  4. c-section may seem convenient, but it has long term side effects! take it from experience!!

  5. Induction is no joke. I have seen a CLEAR difference with moms who have been induced VS moms who labor naturally. @Madiha I totally agree with you because its MAJOR surgery; your body will never be the same!

  6. Umm Abdir RahmanMay 14, 2011 at 7:58 AM

    Yeah thats so true Hira! and its awfully painful! it just not natural. with Hanan alhumdulillah I had natural pain and Alhumdulillah the whole labor was SO easy. May Allah make it easy for ALL preggo mommies and their babies and all those to come. Ameen

  7. I agree with the above re elective c-setions, BUT it's not fair for women to be judged on having one in general. Most women are devastated to have one and when people question "Why did you have it?" then it sounds like we're being punished for 'cheating.'

    It's true that some c-sections could have been successful vaginal deliveries, but when a mom-to-be knows there's even a slight risk to the baby, why would she opt to take a gamble. Speaking from a personal note, I knew I couldn't!

    While a c-section wasn't what I had originally planned, my baby was delivered safely and was born healthy alhumduhlillah, and that's all that mattered.

  8. Zahra, I agree with you and the desired outcome for both healthcare providers and mothers is always a healthy baby.

    I also understand your frustration when it comes to being judged- that is totally unfair. Unfortunately, this is our how society is. Quick to point fingers and quick to forget that we might be in that situation one day as well. May Allah make it easy for all women.

    For some women Csections might be the right thing to do, especially if there is no alternative (for example in your situation)

    However, there is NO justification for a 33% Csection rate! The World Health Organization says it should not be above 15%. I mean these numbers are saying something and at the end of the day the "choice" is being taken away from Mothers. The focus of this post was to encourage Mothers to ask questions, to make informed decisions (like you did) to get a second opinion and to have a choice.

    I think the slight risk argument is not reason enough to start interventions-- why do they use fear to drive our decisions? If you consider the slight risk than there are far more risk involved with major surgery than having a vaginal birth. So the argument can be made on both sides.

    My point is there is alway a risk with a vaginal delivery but there are ADDED risk when you start inductions, epidurals, forceps, csections and so on.

  9. This was nice and informative Hira, alhamdulillah. I had to have a C section with Hayaa, had a midwife but too many complications. Alhamdulillah, we plan, but Allah swt is the best of planners. For my second delivery, whenever that will be, i want a natural delivery.
    I remember the doctor telling me not to go down the route of pushing for a natural birth again if i'm pregnant in less then 3 years from the delivery or if my pregnancy is much like my first.. partly because my body will not be able to heal completely before this time, and also, i did kinda push the whole 'natural birth thing' to the next level during my delivery (i had been dreaming of a epi free, completely natural birth), and this was respected my physician for quite some time until she had to jump in and convince my husband and I (the midwife agreed) that my body just wasn't responding, and it wasn't safe (and extremely painful!) to keep inducing at such high levels.

    khairr... regardless of my 'interesting' experience, i'll still try for a natural delivery later in life once again. and if it's not meant to be, then that's the qadr of Allah.

    Still, when i read about natural deliveries, i feel likee daang i had a baby and i still don't know how real child birth feels like. *sigh insha'Allah one day!


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