You're probably considering skipping right over this article. And why shouldn't you? After all, you're going to have a vaginal birth, right? You won't find yourself under the bright lights of a surgical suite. You're young, healthy, and ready to get this baby out the old-fashioned way! But wait: Don't turn the page just yet. The fact is, 32 percent of all births today are via cesarean section, according to data released last year from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's 1.4 million women going under the knife annually. There are no stats on how many are repeat C's versus first-timers, but C-section rates in women younger than 25 have recently spiked, suggesting that more low-risk moms are having them. I was one of those women.
When I took my childbirth class four years ago, the teacher spent an entire hour on C-sections. I tuned her out for the most part. So imagine my surprise when, after 29 hours of induced labor, I found myself being wheeled down a corridor and headed for the operating room because my cervix wouldn't budge past 4 centimeters dilated. I was scared and sad, but had I been better prepared, I would've known what to expect, the questions to ask, and how best to heal. I'd have known what I know now, having had two C-sections: A surgical birth can be as joyful and as meaningful as a vaginal birth.
The important thing is holding a healthy baby in your arms, however you delivered the little bundle. So in case your big day doesn't go exactly according to plan, arm yourself with the info that will help you sail through surgery and beyond.