Cesarean Risks

As a mom, issues surrounding childbirth tend to resonate with me, and I’ve written several articles about the subject.  So it was with great interest that I read Kathy Petersen’s article about how c-sections increase risks for future pregnancies.  Kathy’s article highlights the importance of truly informed consent, and points out the ways that women are swayed (manipulated?) towards opting for repeat c-sections in the name of safety, without being truly informed about the risks on both sides of the issue.

A friend of mine who lives in a smallish Colorado town had a c-section with her first baby after 45 hours of labor.  She wanted to try for a VBAC with baby number two, but was told that she would have to go to Denver a month before her due date and stay near one of the big metro hospitals until she gave birth.  Between her job and taking care of her toddler, that wasn’t a particularly viable option, and so she had a repeat c-section.  In fact, several of my friends had c-sections with their first babies, and all have gone on to have repeat c-sections.  They were all warned ominously that they could suffer uterine rupture if they opted for a VBAC, but none of them mentioned anything about the issues that Kathy raised in her article.

United HealthOne has changed the way they underwrite applicants in Colorado who have had a c-section.  They now charge an additional 30% on top of the standard premiums in these cases.  All health insurance carriers in Colorado cover “complications of pregnancy”, but most of them do not consider c-sections to be complications.  United does consider c-sections to be complications, but only if they are emergency c-sections (ie, not scheduled).  Since most OBs schedule repeat c-sections, it’s rare that a woman would end up with an unplanned, emergency repeat c-section.  So I was a bit perplexed by the new underwriting actions.  But after reading Kathy’s article and learning about the problems that can occur in a subsequent pregnancy following a c-section, it makes more sense.

I found Kathy’s article in the Cavalcade of Risk, hosted last week at Healthcare Manumission.

About Louise Norris

Louise Norris has been writing about health insurance and healthcare reform since 2006. In addition to the Colorado Health Insurance Insider, she also writes for healthinsurance.org, medicareresources.org, Verywell, Spark by ADP, and Boost by ADP, and Gusto. Follow on twitter and facebook.

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