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When women seek to give birth vaginally and doctors refuse

Traditionally, when a woman either opts to have a cesarean section performed or is compelled to have a c-section due to medical necessity, any subsequent children she has are similarly delivered by cesarean section. However, more and more women are insisting on having vaginal births even after they have delivered previously by c-section.

One would assume that barring some special circumstance, pregnant patients would ultimately have their wishes honored. However, some hospitals and individual physicians are refusing to allow pregnant patients to delivery vaginally if they have previously delivered via c-section. Some physicians are concerned about the risks that a vaginal birth following a c-section will result in an error during labor or delivery. However, refusing to allow patients to deliver vaginally when they may do so safely can also result in errors and harm to mother, baby or both patients.

It is worth noting that guidelines drafted just four years ago by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists indicate that post-cesarean vaginal births are generally a safe option for women. However, many hospitals are refusing to allow women to give birth vaginally under these circumstances due to a slightly higher risk of uterine rupture, according to The New York Times.

If you or a loved one has suffered harm during a c-section after a hospital and/or physician has refused to allow a vaginal birth for this reason alone, you may be able to hold your providers liable for this choice. As every case is different, you may wish to contact an experienced attorney in order to discuss your unique situation.

Source: New York Times, “Refusals Cut Options After C-Sections,” Dan Frosch, April 14, 2014

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