Lowering the number of Cesarean Sections

July 21, 2010 3:15:56 PM PDT
Some women believe that once they've had a cesarean section, their future births need to be via c-section as well. But new guidelines are encouraging them to consider vaginal births.

"It was fantastic. It was much better than I ever thought it would be," said Adele Munisteri a new mother.

Munisteri gave birth naturally to daughter Calla just two weeks ago, despite the fact that she delivered her first child, 3 year old Arlo, by cesarean.

"I just wanted to try. The doctors that I went to were very supportive of that, but they also let me know that it might not happen," Munisteri said.

Doctors now say more women, like Munisteri, can safely attempt a vaginal delivery after cesarean, called a VBAC. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has updated its guidelines because of a rise in surgical deliveries in the last four decades and a desire to swing the pendulum back.

Dr. Jacques Moritz, an OB-GYN at Roosevelt Hospital, has long agreed that women should be encouraged to have a normal delivery.

"In the past, that wasn't exactly done. It's safe, it should be encouraged and doctors should support it," said Dr. Moritz.

The benefits of a vaginal delivery are avoiding abdominal surgery, a lower risk of severe bleeding and infection, and a shorter post-partum recovery time.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology says about 60 to 80 percent of women trying vaginal delivery after caesarean will be successful.

The updated guidelines also encourage women to talk to their doctors early about wanting a vbac so they understand the specific risks of their personal medical situation.

For Munisteri the vbac was worth it.

"There is still something extremely special?about having the experience of delivering the baby the way the baby was meant to come out," said Munisteri.