One of the most common rationalizations for the choice of couples wanting to give birth in the hospital is the number of emergency cesareans they hear about from all their friends who have recently had babies. Women will often say, “I’d like to stay at home or go to a birth center, but this is my first baby, and I just want to be in a hospital in case something goes wrong.” Eighty-five percent of birthing women in the United States are considered low-risk as they enter the hospital, but 100 percent of women receive at least one intervention in labor. The sad fact is that the majority of cesareans are the result of being in the hospital. Routine interventions used in hospital births produce a “cascade effect” which causes cesarean rates to climb. In out-of-hospital birth settings, the focus is on the mother, not the technology. Undisturbed birth leads to healthier babies and happier mothers. Harper, Barbara, R.N. Gentle Birth Choices. Vermont: Healing Art Press, 2005.
All this to state that a cesarean section procedure is also a life-saving procedure for some birthing women and their babies. The cesarean procedure certainly has it’s place and is more than redemptive, but the swing that the birth pendulum has taken the US to rates of over 1 in 3 births by cesarean has certainly swung far beyond only performing a cesarean as a life-saving measure. Instances surrounding a birth that must lead to a c-section can only be known by doctors or midwives, but a simplified example of when a c-section must be performed is placenta previa or placental abruption.