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Kate Hudson, Victoria Beckham and the C-section question

July 11, 2011|By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
  • Actress Kate Hudson arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros.' "Something Borrowed" at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on May 3 in Hollywood.
Actress Kate Hudson arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros.' "Something… (Jason Merritt / Getty Images )

Kate Hudson and Victoria Beckham both gave birth this weekend -- Hudson to a second son and Beckham to the first daughter after three boys.

Beckham had been scheduled for a C-section days before, and both women had given birth by cesarean in the past. Indeed, the former Spice Girl was thought to be one of the many actresses, singers and other stars who are sometimes called "too posh to push."

Nonetheless, there's just as notable a trend among celebrities to give birth au natural -- even at home -- as did a host of well-known women, including Meryl Streep and Pamela Anderson.

There seem to be few cases of public figures who give birth naturally after C-section -- and that may partly be because many hospitals have in recent years essentially forbidden the practice.

According to an L.A .Times Health section article about at-home births published Monday, "many hospitals do not allow women who have previously had a caesarean to attempt a vaginal birth because of the risk of uterine rupture, even though a 2010 National Institutes of Health advisory panel concluded that the risk of uterine rupture during a vaginal birth after one caesarean was just 1% and that more women should be offered the choice."

"Women wishing to have a [vaginal birth after caesarean or] VBAC," the article adds, "may have no option but to do so on their own turf."

But a 2010 account detailing the risks and rewards of VBAC pointed out that promoters of attempting vaginal birth after C-section seem to minimize the risks:

"The women who have had C-sections and who are lobbying for a vaginal birth would like a vaginal birth, yes. But what they're asking for, the more honest and maybe the more uncomfortable way to say it, is that they want to give it a shot. They want a TOLAC, a trial of labor after a C-section.

"Calling a TOLAC a VBAC may be part of the problem with the debate: The terminology itself comes with an optimism to it, the idea that if only you were permitted to try, you would succeed."

In fact, she points out, anywhere between 20% and 40% of attempts end up in a C-section anyway -- and a small percentage of those can result in uterine ruptures.

For more information on the benefits and risks of VBAC, check out the Mayo Clinic's page on its history and development.

Follow me on Twitter @LAT_aminakhan.

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