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Don't get pushed into unnecessary labor and delivery procedures

Having a baby, for many women, is one of the most joyous experiences of a lifetime. Unfortunately, thanks to the state of the U.S. health care system, it may be one of the most dangerous occasions as well, for both you and your newborn. In fact, terrifyingly, compared to several other leading nations, babies in the United States are over two times as likely to die before they reach the age of one!

Perhaps equally upsetting, America is behind almost every other country in the world when it comes to preventing maternal death from pregnancy and childbirth, with a mortality rate that is rising as opposed to dropping. How is this even possible, and is there anything that expectant mothers can do to protect themselves and their children?

Outdated procedures

Of course, a number of complications can arise during pregnancy and childbirth. Unfortunately, some suggest the dangers expectant mothers and their babies face are due to outdated medical procedures or the refusal of the health care system to think of pregnant mothers as individuals, rather than as a piece in a labor-and-delivery assembly line. Even as medical science advances, some health care practitioners continue to perform procedures simply because that's how they've always done it.

When convenience for OB-GYNs outweighs the well-being of mother and child, clearly something needs done. Some of these practices can, admittedly, save your life or the life of your unborn child, but only when done correctly, and often are only necessary emergency situations. Otherwise, before a doctor influences you to undergo a procedure that may not be strictly necessary, you may wish to discuss alternative options for:

  • Induction of labor without a medical reason
  • An episiotomy
  • An early epidural
  • A C-section with a low-risk first birth
  • An automatic second C-section

Of course, your OB-GYN may have a very good reason for suggesting these procedures, but you may not know until you have discussed it. If you are concerned with your doctor's medical advice, you should never be afraid to ask questions or request more information; after all, both your own life and the life of your child may be at stake.

For your baby's health

Some babies arrive prematurely, and other times, an early induction or a C-section are the safest option. In most situations, however, allowing your baby to come on his or her own schedule is the healthiest course.

Significant fetal developments take place during the last few weeks – and even days – of pregnancy, and your doctor could have been off about the date of conception, so scheduling a delivery around your doctor's convenience may not be wise. When there are no medical reasons to the contrary, babies allowed to arrive naturally on their own are less likely to end up in NICU.

For your own health

The procedures involved in early delivery – induction or a scheduled C-section – typically carry higher risk for the mother than natural delivery. C-sections are major surgeries that bring with them increased pain, longer recovery times and higher rates of infection, as well as complications with future pregnancy. Additionally, once you have undergone a C-section, you may have difficulty finding a doctor willing to even discuss a natural second birth.

Episiotomies bring with them a higher likelihood of significant pain and problems and are rarely necessary except in cases of fetal distress where a rapid delivery is essential. Epidurals, on the other hand, often slow the labor process.

A high cost for convenience

Of course, many of these procedures can potentially save the life of you and your child in an emergency situation. However, too often, doctors overuse them for convenience, introducing risks that might be unnecessary and even potentially life-threatening. While nothing can make up for the health of your child, if you or your infant suffered serious illness or injury due to a hurried Chicago health care professional's carelessness, there are legal resources available to help you explore your options.

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