Local News

To C-Section Or Not; Discussion Should Start Early

Posted July 18, 2001 3:44 a.m. EDT

— Recent studies have found that pregnant women who have had a C-section in the past do have a higher risk of uterine rupture if they attempt labor. If you're planning on having another child, what's best for your baby is up to you and your doctor to decide.

Debbie Matthews has two beautiful daughters, but 2-year-old Skylar and 4-week-old Starr came into the world in very different ways. Skylar was a breech baby so Debbie had to have a C-section. This time around she told her doctors she was determined to have a vaginal delivery.

"They had pretty much assured me that I could do it," she says.

Doctors say if you have had a previous C-section, the discussion over how you will deliver this time should begin early in your prenatal visits. Dr. Amy Murtha at Duke Medical Center says that's the time to bring up any questions or concerns you have.

"It's you, your spouse and your doctor together, making a decision that's right for you based on what's happened to you in the past and your level of comfort with what's going to happen in this pregnancy," she says.

If you went through labor only to end up with a C-section, doctors say you are less likely to have a successful delivery. One of the biggest concerns is the uterus rupturing at the previous incision site.

"If that happens, we know that the outcome for the baby can be much worse and the risks to the mother are significant as well," Murtha says.

Uterine rupture is rare occurring in less than one percent of deliveries. Debbie was able to deliver Starr naturally just as she wanted. Her water broke and she went into labor on her own. If labor is induced with drugs, there is a greater risk of rupture.