How to Schedule Your Baby Delivery

The arrival of the stork used to be met with great anticipation and surprise. 

Women simply did not know where or when they would go into labor. However, modern medicine has greatly altered delivery options.

First-time mom, Elisa Girard, welcomes the change. When it came to her pregnancy and planning for delivery, she wanted no surprises.

"The unknown, that's the scary part of delivery, of any kind of delivery. There is the factor of what's going to happen," Girard said.

She eliminated that fear by choosing to have a Cesarean section.

"I wanted it to be planned, calm, safe. That was my real goal," she said.

She was also concerned about pelvic floor preservation. Many women experience urinary incontinence issues later in life after vaginal deliveries.

An elected C-section was something Elisa's doctor was willing to perform.

"Actually, I started talking about it on our first visit, but then we continued to have the conversation over several visits and my OBGYN helped me make the decisions. We discussed the pros and cons," she said.

In 2005, the number of C-sections performed in this country reached an all-time high of 30.3 percent. Since then, the number has only continued to climb.

Besides patients, many doctors are also warming up to the idea of elective C-section, or on-demand cesarean, as it's called in the medical field.

It's something Elisa -- a fourth-year obstetrics and gynecology resident at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford --  knows well. 

She recently conducted a national study that surveyed third- and fourth-year residents about their willingness to perform on-demand C-sections once in private practice.

"From the survey, about 74 percent of the respondents said they would be willing to perform C-section delivery on maternal request. So, that's the majority of residents (who) are planning to do c-section deliveries on maternal request," Girard said.

Dr. Carolyn Zelop, a high-risk OBGYN, has not quite decided which option is best.

"At this point in time, we do not know if this is something that should be recommended or embraced," Zelop said.

A cesarean is a major surgery that poses risks, such as bleeding, she warned. Repeat c-sections can cause the placenta to attach to the uterus abnormally. Therefore, on-demand deliveries are not recommended for women wanting to have more than two children.

So, which option is safer?

"I think the jury is still out and it's very difficult to look at the literature and a make a recommendation, and that's why we haven't come out and said we need abandon vaginal birth and completely recommend Cesarean delivery," Zelop said.

It’s a conversation a patient should have with her doctor.

Perhaps, it is not the best choice for every one. But it was right for Elisa.

"I'm looking forward to next time, and I want it to be exactly the same. I wouldn't change one thing about it."

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