When you get pregnant, one of the questions that might pop up is how you’ll be delivering your baby. Some people are adamant about keeping things as intervention-free as possible. That means they don’t want pain meds for their vaginal delivery. Others decide to use an epidural or other pain medication, while still delivering vaginally. And then of course, there are c-sections. There are many reasons why a healthcare provider might recommend a c-section, or why a c-section might simply be medically necessary. But it bears the question: can I choose a c-section? The answer is yes, but there are some caveats.

According to BabyCenter, while some moms do request to have a c-section, it’s not a very common practice. They report that while c-section births in 2012 were up to 33%, it’s not sure how many of these were actually by choice. Additionally, major medical organizations are now strongly urging care providers to push for vaginal deliveries, which are usually less invasive.

Is Pain a Good Reason to Choose C-Section?

There’s a number of reasons why someone might choose to have a c-section. Some are afraid of the pain. Of course, that doesn’t take into consideration the amount of pain experienced while recovering from a c-section, but for some, it’s worth the risk.

Others fear episiotomies and vaginal tearing. While some slight tearing is fairly common and usually only causes some short-term discomfort, few moms (less than 3%) experience extreme tearing that could cause things like anal incontinence.

Can I Choose A C-Section Due To Trauma?

Another reason why one might choose elective c-section is due to previous birth trauma. Researchers have studied the fact that women who have experienced physical and/or emotional trauma during a previous childbirth are often hesitant to repeat the experience and prefer to opt for a c-section.

Those who have experienced such traumas should speak candidly with their care providers over their concerns. Some doctors may recommend c-section if the physical trauma was extreme and could cause further complications to the mother later in life (such as if you had 4th degree tearing). Those who have experienced psychological birth trauma might benefit from working with a psychologist or therapist about their concerns. EMDR therapy is quite beneficial to those who have experienced this form of trauma.

Should I Choose A C-Section?

At the end of the day, planned c-sections are associated with more risks than planned vaginal deliveries. Breathing issues in newborns and placenta previa in the mother are just some of the issues that increase in likelihood when choosing a c-section. While there is nothing wrong with having a c-section that is medically necessary (as many mothers do even when they’ve planned vaginal deliveries), it’s still major abdominal surgery and most doctors still recommend going the old fashioned way.

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