Ob/gyns should not perform a cesarean delivery just because a woman requests it, states an opinion issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). C-sections on maternal request comprise an estimated 2.5% of all births in the U.S. Potential risks of such deliveries include longer maternal hospital stay, respiratory problems for the baby and greater complications in subsequent pregnancies. Potential benefits of planned cesarean versus vaginal delivery include reduced risk of hemorrhage, fewer surgical complications and a decrease in urinary incontinence during the first year after delivery. Given the balance of risks and benefits, ACOG’s Committee on Obstetric Practice recommends planned vaginal delivery, absent any maternal or fetal indications. If cesarean delivery upon maternal request is planned, the committee says it should not be performed prior to 39 weeks, motivated by fear of pain or recommended for women desiring several children, since risks of placenta previa, placenta accreta and gravid hysterectomy increase with each cesarean.
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