giving birth

7 Signs Your Hospital or Doctor Will Probably Push for a C-Section

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You get to the hospital too early.

Listen, labor takes a long time! Usually. We all hear the stories of women giving birth in the car on the way to the hospital. But remember: those stories make good news blurbs, but they don’t happen very often. If contractions have started but your water hasn’t broken, you’ve got some time. Even after your water breaks, most women are still in labor for at least a few more hours.

It’s not an exact science. And there’s no guarantee you won’t end up as one of those 10 o’clock news stories. But the longer you labor at home, the less time you’ll be taking up space in the hospital. Dr. Neel Shah is a assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School. He says, “The later you go into the hospital, the lower odds you have of having a C-section.” So keep that in mind before you rush off at the first signs of labor.

Your doctor is a little old-fashioned.

C-section signs go beyond stats and complications. A lot of the pressure to have a c-section can come from your own doctor. Doctors used to believe that progressed faster, and when it didn’t follow those standards, a c-section was recommended. But now, it’s believed that allowing a woman to labor longer may actually prevent unnecessary c-sections. A 2014 statement by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine suggests that doctors allow more time for labor to progress naturally into the active phase, and that women be allowed to push for at least 2 – 3 hours with an epidural. Knowing where your doctor stands on these recommendations could mean the difference between being allowed to labor and deliver vaginally, or being forced into a c-section.

These c-section signs aren’t universal by any means. But knowing what can lead to a c-section, and knowing what research to do and which questions to ask, can go a long way toward preparing you for your own labor and delivery.

(Image: iStock/mvaligursky)

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