John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice
Many women give birth by Caesarean section unnecessarily. Numerous studies have shown that most women could have given birth safely without one, but requested otherwise. However, in recent years, doctors and insurance companies are refusing to let mothers who have already had a Caesarean section give birth vaginally, and instead are forcing them to have unnecessary repeat Caesarean sections.

According to legal and medical experts, these decisions are fueled by fears of lawsuits and any medical risks associated with vaginal birth, such as uterine ruptures. However, in March, the National Institutes of Health, after convening a panel of medical experts, stated that giving birth vaginally after previously having a Caesarean is safe for the majority of women giving birth. As a result, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists will soon be issuing a set of guidelines to make it easier for women to find doctors that will allow them to give birth without Caesarean section. The guidelines state that giving birth vaginally after a Caesarean section is now considered a "safe and appropriate choice". Also appropriate candidates for vaginal birth are women who have had two previous C-sections or are carrying twins.

I am extremely happy about the new guidelines. I don't think that the decision of whether or not a women should have a Caesarean section should be predetermined by doctors or insurance companies without examining and consulting with them first. Such a decision should be made on a case-by-case basis. In many cases, Caesarean section birth can be just as risky as vaginal birth!  In any surgical procedure, there are multiple risks involved including infection, reactions to anesthesia, bleeding, and scarring. With Caesarean sections, there are added risks such as injury to the uterus and bowel obstruction. Patients should be told about the risks associated with each birthing method, and should not be forced to endure a risky surgical procedure if not absolutely necessary. Hopefully, the new guidelines will decrease the number of unnecessary Caesarean sections, and give back mothers some power to choose the birthing method that is right for them.
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