ASK DR NOVOA- Is it ethical to plan a C-section for a contest?

Question: For the past few years, the first New Year’s Baby born in El Paso has received gifts from one of the El Paso societies.

It has actually gotten pretty competitive with a number of OB doctors intentionally scheduling New Year’s Eve Cesarean Section deliveries in order to help their patients get the prize.

However, this seems both unnatural and unfair. With an elective or scheduled repeat C/S as an option in order to win this contest, it makes it almost impossible for a patient who is trying for a natural vaginal delivery and has been laboring for hours or for days to possibly win. A C/S delivery planned out and timed for delivery can take as little as 15 minutes to perform, while a vaginal delivery can take days.

I had actually agreed to participate not thinking that it had a negative impact, but I am sincerely reconsidering. I have started to get a lot of negative comments about the contest.

As a doctor who strongly supports a woman’s right to have a vaginal delivery, especially in cases of previous C/S (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section), I worry that I am sending out the wrong message to take the easy way out and have a C/S in order to win a contest, when the fairest way is to celebrate the delivery of the first baby born by vaginal delivery rather than by C/S.

What do you think? Should there only be one contest or should the first vaginally delivered baby be crowned the first New Year’s Baby of the Year?

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Filed under Blog, Obstetrics, Questions of the Day

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