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Can I request a C-section?
Q: I’m 16 weeks pregnant and have an unusual question: does a healthy woman get to choose if she wants to have her baby delivered by C-section or vaginally? I worry most about the long-term effects of a vaginal birth on my body. Are there more pros or cons to having one type of delivery over the other?
A: Dear Candis,

The vast majority of obstetricians would encourage you to have a vaginal delivery. Although cesarean section is a relatively safe procedure, you will heal faster and have fewer risks (blood loss, infection, etc.) with a vaginal birth.

Much has been made of the long-term effects of vaginal delivery on the muscles surrounding the bladder, rectum and vagina. There are women who suffer a “prolapse,” or a dropping of these organs, probably as a consequence of childbirth. However, their numbers are not high. There are no other “long-term effects on your body.”

If you weigh all the current evidence, a vaginal delivery is considered safer and the preferred route of delivery. Very few obstetricians would do an elective cesarean section based on a patient’s request.

Craig L. Bissinger M.D.