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Therapy to Avoid Unnecessary C-Sections?

Much discussion has been raging recently over the use of C-section births. On one hand, some of the most common forms of medical negligence as it relates to childbirth is caused by failure to act appropriately in ordering a timely C-section. In many cases, doctors fail to notice the warning signs of fetal distress, often allowing a situation to fester. This sometimes result in an infant’s brain not receiving oxygen for an extended period of time, causing a range of problems, including cerebral palsy.

But as with all medical decisions, proper standards of care dictate that treatments be given only when appropriate. The fact that C-sections are often necessary in emergency situations does not mean that all C-sections are good. In fact, some argue that there is an overreliance on the surgical birth. As many know, there has been a push recently to get the C-section rate under control, utilizing alternatives where possible to avoid unnecessary surgeries.

Can Group Therapy Help?
For example, a new study discussed in NBC article last week suggests that group therapy may help prevent birth complications which lead to risky and costly C-section operations. The research project suggest that the benefits may be particularly helpful for first-time mothers who are more likely to have strong fears of chlidbirth.

The head researchers gave a pithy summary of the siutation: “Many of these women with severe fear of childbirth don’t come to any maternity clinic for consultation, they just come to deliver with all the anxiety and fear, so there will be problems in delivery.”

The counseling is meant to decrease the fear and anxiety. When the mother enters the birth with fewer mental health challenges of her own, the liklihood that the birth will proceed without complications increases. In addition, the therapy often eases fears and leads first-time mothers in particuar to at least attempt a vaginal birth instead of automatically asking for a scheduled C-section.

More specifically, the researchers found that roughly half of first-time mothers reporting significant anxiety leading up to the birth. However, that percentage decreased to roughly 1/3 when those mothers first went to group therapy to address their concerns about the birth. These findings were documented in the recent edition of the British Obstetrics and Gynecology Journal (BJOG). The work involved use of over 4,500 pregnant women and survey data regarding their mental well-being and concerns before and after the therapy.

It will be interesting to see if this research spurs any changes to procedures in the U.S. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that C-sections remain the most common surgery in the country. Right now about 1/3 all of U.S. pregnancies end with this surgical birth. Of course, many of these procedures are necessary for the health, safety, and well-being of the mother and child. But that is not to say that the C-section shouldn’t be avoided if possible. That is because when compared when a non-complicated vaginal birth, C-sections come with an increased risk of bleeding, infection, and other long-term medical problems. That is on top of the added expense of these deliveries.

The birth injury attorneys at our firm urge all local mothers-to-be to remain open to their options and take advantage of all the tools available to them to get through their pregnancy safely and securely. If at any time, however, you suspect that mistakes were made which caused harm, please get in touch with the legal professionals at our office to see how we can help.

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