Shocking quotes regarding maternal choice to VBAC birth

Joy Szabo has been in the news lately for desiring a second VBAC for her fourth baby (vaginal birth, emergency cesarean, and vaginal birth).  She has been denied locally in her area of Page, AZ to have a vaginal birth. Due to this situation, the International Cesarean Awareness Network has been assisting her in fighting the VBAC ban along with seeking out additional options.

After reading the latest article regarding Ms. Szabo, I am completely dumbfounded by the remarks made by other readers of her story.  I am stunned by how it seems the general populous regards a woman’s autonomy and medical rights.  I am also including positive comments as counterpoint. Where do you fall?  What do you believe? Many of these comments point me in the direction of what is so wrong with the system.  That of physician and hospital trumping patient.

You decide is the comment pro or con?

“… seems like many people do not grasp malpractice and insurance companies. This is not about the hospital, but about medical professionals and hospitals not wanting litigation. Can you blame them? After spending tens of thousands of dollars on an education before making a dime, I would do what I needed to to avoid a lawsuit, too! … we go to doctors because they DO know what is best for our health! Like another poster said, in health care, the customer is NOT always right.”

“My son was born by c-section, then my daughter vaginally, with no adverse affects. While I agree it’s the doctor’s decision to take the risk or not, it seems over-the-top conservative. Does the doctor’s insurance premium go up if this procedure is performed? Then charge more and give the patient the option.”

“C-sections are done in the US more routinely than in any other developed country but our infant mortality rate is not lower but higher. Doctors do not want to deliver on weekends, at night, if the mother is one week over her electronically determined due date. Yes complications can happen, more so if you are made to stay in a bed hooked up to monitors, a monitor screwed in to the baby’s head, your water broke prematurely, inducement before the baby or mother are physically ready to give birth. All of this leads to more injuries and deaths than needed. Doctors look upon birth as an illness, not the process that it is – an inexact human birth. I am not suggesting giving birth in a field alone, but a c-section has a greater risk than the V-Bac especially if she has had one already. C-sections for true emergencies yes, otherwise no.”

“Did anyone else notice that when they list the risks of a C-section, they failed to mention that the mother is 4-7 times more likely to DIE than with a vaginal birth.?!?!?! They also fail to mention all the potential complications to her health, the roughly 30% rate of problems following the surgery (some severe enough to require rehospitalization) and the challenges associated with caring for children while recovering from major abdominal surgery.  Good for this mom and I hope more mothers will take courage from her”

“This story is exaggeration. If the woman wants a vbac, she just has to show up at that hospital in labor and refuse a section. They can’t force her to have a c-section no matter what they would prefer she do. You can’t force a woman to have a c-section under any circumstances, so as long as the docs and nurses say she and the baby are tolerating labor, she has no reason to fear being forced into an operation.”

“I worked in the hospital for 5 years and then in a birth center for the last 4 years. I had to get out of the hospital because I started feeling guilty about my complicity in that system in which so much goes on behind closed doors of which the patient is never informed. I’ve had docs tell me in the lunch room that they are doing a c-section because they have an important golf game, fishing trip, or hot date. Then they go into the room, lie to the woman and say, ” oh your baby is too big, your progress is too slow, it’s never going to happen.” the woman believes them and thanks them so much for saving their babies lives. Over and over and over again. In Miami we have over 50% c-section rate, and it’s way more convenient for the docs. If VBACS are not allowed at more and more hospitals, the rest of the country will soon be like it is here…..”

“I find this decision by the hospital(s) to not do a VBAC as a little crazy. My older brother was born (in 1955) by C-section; both me (in 1958) and my younger brother (in 1962) were born vaginally. NO COMPLICATIONS. It could be done 50 years ago, but not now??”

“The risk of MAJOR complication from a second cesarean is TEN TIMES that of the risk of uterine rupture in a VBAC mother. Someone please explain to me how an “elective” repeat cesarean is safer than a VBAC? Especially since more than 75% of uterine ruptures occur PRIOR to the onset of labor. How is a scheduled cesarean at 39 weeks (which is the ACOG recommendation) going to save the mother who ruptures at the dinner table at 34 weeks? Using their logic, we should all go live at the hospital the moment we become pregnant after a previous cesarean, just in case our uterus blows up and we need an OB and an anesthesiologist “immediately available”.”

So what do you think?  It worries me that is seems the mother’s rights do not count for much. That in some of the comments the idea of  forcing a cesarean is no big deal if it makes the doctor’s position safer.

I think that most people are woefully under educated on childbirth and what safety really means.  A conservative physician errs on the side of evidence not defensive practice.  Do your own research. Be your own advocate.


  1. Thea on October 16, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    *sigh* is the best initial reply. I’m 35 weeks pregnant and facing similar issues with a nurse midwife who has done a little “change up” in policy since taking me on as a patient. If I don’t go into labor by “x” date, she will pass me along to a surgeon for a scheduled section. I am working on contingency plans and other options at the moment but the fact that my own personal health doesn’t usurp the ACOG “RECCOMENDATION” and that the attitude of care givers here is so universally given to fear (whether of litigation or rupture, etc) is amazing and not in a good way. It is disconcerting that her rights are so quickly overlooked and she, as a mother, is demonized in many ways.

  2. Lisa on October 16, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Some good points are made here. I agree that it’s terrifying that some people aren’t concerned that a woman or anyone for that matter could have her body legally cut open against her will. And did whoever wrote that you can “just show up and refuse the c-section” not see that the hospital would get a court order? Great advice, there.

  3. Felina on January 11, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I live in Key West FL and I am currently 10 weeks pregnant with my third child.
    My first was a vaginal birth and my second was a c-section, my Dr. that did the c-section was very supportive and told me there was no reason i couldn’t try for a VBAC next time around.
    Now, 2 years and 400 miles later I’m finding myself in a pickle, there are NO midwives and NO OB’s that support VBACs here plus the hospital has a ban on VBAC.
    I am shocked and outraged that a Doctor or hospital thinks they can make me have unnecessary surgery, I am appalled at the flip attitude our society has about c-sections and I feel betrayed by everyone involved in making safe VBACs so hard to have.
    I wonder if men had to be laid out naked, strapped to a table, numb from the armpits down, cut open and digging around inside of them while they were fully awake and aware of it all…would they consider that “routine”? Would they easily agree to it when there was NO MEDICAL REASON for it?

    • admin on January 11, 2010 at 7:22 pm

      That is a very good question? If it was them would they want to do it? Allow it? Be okay with it? Are you on the ICAN yahoo group or in touch with the local Florida chapter?