California Needs Work When It Comes to How to Deliver Babies

California has been leading the way when it comes to access to health care, availability of abortion providers, even trying to get birth control more readily to those who need it. It has an expansive Medicaid program for uninsured and has been working on a program to allow nurse practitioners to also be trained in and allowed to provide early vacuum aspiration abortions, which could greatly increase availability in more rural areas of the state.

They’ve even made birth control pills available through registered nurses to loosen up the pipeline that can get backed up when a doctor’s exam is required before a prescription can be written.

When it comes to pregnancy prevention and termination, California is the gold standard of care. Which is why it makes it so much more unfortunate that when it comes to giving birth, there are so many fewer choices?

A New York Times article explores the state’s deplorable results when it comes to offering women who have had a previous c-section the ability to do a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After a Cesarian), reporting that just half of the hospitals in the state will actually allow a pregnant person to attempt a vaginal birth. Because a previous c-section provides a small chance for uterine rupture, hospitals, and of course the doctors within them, are choosing to encourage a second abdominal surgery rather than take that risk.

Although it has been nearly two years since the study came out citing the abysmal options for those who want to pursue a VBAC, hospital policy is remaining virtually unchanged. “Many hospitals that allow the procedure have just a few doctors handling them, the study found; many doctors are unwilling to perform V.B.A.C.s because of requirements that they be present during labor,” writes the New York Times. “Time is money for physicians, and they don’t want to have to spend their time hanging around waiting for women in labor,” Mary Barger, an associate professor of nursing at the University of San Diego, told the paper.

Judging by my own experience when I was preparing to give birth to my second child, after having my first by emergency c-section, I learned that it is not always just the hospital that will refuse to consider a VBAC, but certain insurers as well. When I briefly considered VBAC, I had to discuss the issue with my insurer and prove that they would cover any unforeseen events should there be a rupture, rather than it be considered me engaging in “risky” behavior, which would leave them not obligated to pay for additional medical care.

For the hospital, a VBAC  delivery could only be done in a surgical room, with a full surgical team at the ready for the slightest emergency. In the end, a breeched baby took that decision out of my hands, but I had mostly given up on the idea of a vaginal delivery mainly because by the time all of the requirements would be put in place to allow me to do it, it simply seemed like too much hassle.

That a medical system would strong-arm pregnant people into undergoing surgery against their wills, and a surgery that is more likely to have complications than a VBAC is to have a rupture, is befuddling. It is even more befuddling once we consider all of the additional medical costs that go into a surgery than into a vaginal birth. Yet somehow, despite it being both physically and financially less burdensome to have a vaginal birth than a follow up c-section, modern medicine continues to resist it.

California has led the way on the right to control when and if to have a child. Maybe now they can lead the way on the right to control how to give birth to that child, as well.


Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jerome S
Jerome S8 months ago

thanks for sharing.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven8 months ago

thanks for sharing.

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago


A F.
Athena F3 years ago

This was only ONE of many incidents where he and the nurses tried to use scare tactics to get me in to get that very tasty-expensive-Mercedes-buying C-section they so desperately wanted me to get, and so the doctor could make it to his golf game in time. And yes, I actually overheard him saying that. He said my labor was taking "longer than he'd thought" and if I didn't "speed it up", he was going to miss tee-off time. Bastard. It actually took my husband threatening to wrap the doctor's golf clubs around his neck if he didn't stop harrassing me and making crap up to scare me for him to actually allow me my vaginal birth.

Which went fine, by the way. Nice, healthy son. No thanks to those people who did everything in their power to stress me and him out, including giving me labor-inducing drugs (WITHOUT MY CONSENT OR KNOWLEDGE UNTIL AFTER THE FACT) despite me having it in my birth plan NOT to do that, also, breaking my water (again, against my specific wishes/requests) causing the baby to lay on his cord and making him go into temporary distress. Again making the doctor insist I needed a c-section, even though it was his own damn fault. It just goes on and on.

A F.
Athena F3 years ago

Hospitals are mostly pro-doctor/pro-nurse. NOT pro-woman/mother. Not saying ALL hospitals or ALL doctors are this way, but waaaay too frequently, they are.

Everything is done for doctor/nurse convenience (take the standard birthing position for example, totally aids the doctor in "catching" the baby, not the mother in giving birth), and to avoid malpractice at any cost, even if it means doing ridiculous things like exaggerating, using scare tactics over vaguely possible issues that so rarely even occur, etc.

I remember with my hospital stay they had a monitor on my belly. When I'd try to shift positions it would come loose and give a quick spike in the reading. The nurse came in, checked the reading, panicked, and told me I HAD to have a C-section because the baby was in distress, NOW. Seriously.

I tried to calm her and explained that I'd been watching the monitor very closely and every time I tried to turn over, it did that. I said I could prove it, but she ran off and got the doctor who didn't even speak to me, but just tried to get me on a gurney with the help of an orderly.

I MADE him stop, physically blocked him, and showed him the damn monitor and how it was behaving. He acquiesced, reluctantly, and agreed it was indeed the monitor acting weird. If he would have had his way I'd have been cut open right then, despite having a WRITTEN BIRTH PLAN I'd given him saying I only wanted a C-section in case of extreme emergency.

This was only ONE of many inciden

Kalinka Poprawski

Thanks for the article.

Andrea Rodrigues
Andrea Rodrigues3 years ago

TY for sharing

William & Katri D.
Katie & Bill D3 years ago

Thank you

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 3 years ago


Darryll Green
Darryll Green3 years ago

yeah, california can murder babies, they just can't deliver them