cesarean sections

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Beyond Blame: Yes, Too Many C-Sections, But No, Not Bad Moms

WBUR reporter Martha Bebinger recently published a story on childbirth quality data to help pregnant women and their families compare hospitals across Massachusetts. Here, she shares a personal reaction to some of the more troubling feedback she got about Cesarean sections.

The moment of birth during a Cesarean section (Wikimedia Commons)

The moment of birth during a Cesarean section (Wikimedia Commons)

I am not a bad mother because I had a Cesarean section. If you had one, neither are you.

Most if not all doctors who have high rates of C-sections are not bad doctors.

C-sections happen as a result of many decisions, some good, some bad.

In some cases (possibly mine) they save the life of the mom and baby. In other cases they are avoidable if not unnecessary.

If we want fewer of them, we have to look at all the steps that lead to a C-section and find the decisions that most often lead to missteps. Pointing fingers at moms, docs, hospitals or anyone else (partners, lawyers, etc.) won’t help.

That’s my water cooler summary on C-sections after several months of looking at childbirth quality measures and C-sections in particular.  I hated hearing from moms who felt like we belittled their experience by suggesting that there are too many C-sections.

Our point in the series was to alert everyone to the range of C-section rates and to help mothers be more aware of the factors that lead to a C-section. It is up to the medical system as a whole to analyze what goes wrong and reduce the number of C-sections. The last thing we wanted to do was to blame mothers.

Here’s my C-section story. I’d love to hear yours. Continue reading