Can You Request a C-Section?

Cesarean Birth with Parents Holding Baby
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There is a lot of discussion about the birth of a baby via elective cesarean. Elective, in this case, means that there is not a medical reason for the mother or the baby or labor that would require a cesarean birth. Given that a c-section has risks for both the mother and baby, it is something that requires a conversation.

An elective c-section is generally not offered to women during their prenatal care. As a patient, you are allowed to request a c-section, though your doctor or midwife may refuse your request. They may want to talk to you in detail about why you want to have elective surgery to give birth and try to find a way to ease your concerns or fears.

This is a chance to talk with your provider about why you want a cesarean and for the provider to explain why that is or is not a good idea.

A part of that discussion will be how many children you plan to have all together. Then together, you will come up with a plan for the delivery.

Why Some Consider It

Many times the concerns that women have about vaginal birth lead them to believe that a cesarean birth would be easier or safer for them or their babies.

There are also women who suffer from tocophobia, the fear of childbirth. While many women have a healthy respect for labor and are concerned or worried about it, there are also women who have a deep-seated fear. There are also women who are making this a choice of convenience, or who do not wish to give birth vaginally.

While some may say emotional issues or trauma would count as elective, those should ideally be marked under medical necessity, because our mental and emotional health is important and does influence our physical health.

Frequency of Elective C-Sections

According to the Listening to Mothers II Survey, very few mothers are actually initiating the discussion about elective cesarean section. Another study showed that 43% of doctors were unwilling to perform an elective cesarean. The surprising news was that doctors were more likely than the mothers to have that discussion.

If your practitioner agrees to perform an elective c-section, it should not be performed until you are past 39 weeks of pregnancy to reduce the risk of preterm delivery of your baby.

It is also important to note that your insurance company may not cover elective c-section for no medical reason because of the added risks of complications to you, your baby, and future pregnancies. Be sure to discuss this with your insurance provider.

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Article Sources

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