Women, docs misinformed about childbirth tools

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A trio of studies ... shows many women and doctors are ignorant about the adverse effects associated with caesarean sections, and many mistakenly believe vaginal births are more dangerous.

... when it comes to decisions like whether they should have a natural childbirth, first-time moms follow their health-care provider's lead.

While listening to your doctor seems like the best idea, most women choose obstetricians over midwives, and obstetricians are more likely to opt for C-sections ...

Women who saw midwives were a bit more knowledgeable about their options ...

... "But regardless of the type of care providers they attended, even late in pregnancy, many women reported uncertainty about benefits and risks of common procedures used at childbirth. This is worrisome because a lack of knowledge affects their ability to engage in informed discussions with their caregivers."

A second study ... shows younger obstetricians are more likely to recommend a C-section than a natural birth because they believe a C-section is less likely to cause sexual issues or urinary incontinence.

But a number of recent studies show C-sections pose health risks for mothers and children.

A New England Journal of Medicine study from 2009 says repeat C-sections double the risk of complications for newborns, including neonatal death.

A 2007 study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal said C-sections increase a mother's risk of cardiac arrest, infections and hemorrhage requiring hysterotomy.

The third study shows family practitioners who deliver babies are much less likely to fear vaginal birth, and are more likely to opt for natural birth themselves or for their partners ...

Choose your care provider carefully! Interview several midwives or doctors before choosing one. Ask questions about the things that are important to you. For example, if you want a normal birth, ask your potential care provider what % of the births they attend are by caesarean. If you want a waterbirth - ask your care provider if they attend water births.