AUSTIN, Texas — Most doctors agree that a traditional birth is almost always better than cesarean, but there has still been an increase in C-sections in recent years. According to Dr. Amy Bingaman, an obstetrician, women who request a C-section need to know the possible side effects. First, the scarring can be more than just cosmetic. Then there's the risk of hernias and backaches, and issues with future deliveries.
"The thing that I worry about the most is if a woman wants a large family, because every subsequent cesarean section that we do can be more challenging than the one before it," the doctor cautioned.
Besides requested C-sections, Bingaman said, one reason for the increase in numbers is that women are getting bigger.
"There are more C-sections being done, and there's a lot of reasons for that; there are risks with women that are larger, so higher BMIs are increased risk for needing a cesarean section with labor."
She said it is possible to do a vaginal birth after a C-section, but she recommends women talk to their obstetrician even before getting pregnant about which type of delivery is best, with the least risk to mother and child.
The rate of C-sections in the U.S. has been rising steadily for years. They now account for one-third of all births, making them the most-commonly-performed surgical procedure in the nation.