Avoiding Hysterectomy & Cesarean Section

Advances in medicine have made a dramatic difference in women’s health and safety. Today, we have improvements in conditions of pregnancy and delivery. Sadly, two concerns for women remain persistent. One is a higher Caesarean section (C-section) rate. Another is a higher hysterectomy rate. The truth is that women can be empowered to help reduce their “risk” of having one of these surgeries.

Women’s health expert Dr. Robert delRosario explains how to avoid C-section and how to avoid a hysterectomy.

Dr. delRosario is Board Certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He holds memberships in the Pennsylvania Medical and Cumberland County Medical Societies, American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy, and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. Dr. delRosario proctors other physicians both in and outside the region in robotic and hysteroscopic surgical techniques.

For more than two decades, delRosario has been caring for women through all stages of their lives. He previously served both as director of COEMIG at Pinnacle Hospital and medical director of Pinnacle’s Institute for Minimally Invasive Surgery. He is currently the president and CEO of Partners in Women’s Healthcare (PIWH) with offices in Harrisburg, Carlisle and Lemoyne.


Avoiding Caesarean Section (C-Section)

C-section is the use of surgery to deliver one or more babies. C-section is typically used when a vaginal delivery would put the baby or mother at risk.  Currently, about 1 in 3 babies are born by Cesarean section in our country.  C-sections are known to have higher risks (e.g. bleeding, infection and blood clots) than vaginal deliveries.

A main reason C-sections are done is a short delivery time. You see, giving birth (labor) can be a long process that involves uterine contractions, thinning and stretching of the cervix, cervical dilation and pushing time. No one likes to experience labor pains, but one must remember that labor pains are normal. There are ways to manage the discomfort, and your doctor or midwife can help guide you through this journey. However, a long delivery time is not abnormal or a reason for C-section.

There are some common ways for avoiding C-sections:

Pre-delivery Risk (before you get pregnant)

  • Talk with your doctor about ways to lower your risk prior to getting pregnant.
  • Maintain or achieve a healthy weight (obesity can lead to complications during pregnancy).
  • Exercise (helps better prepare a women during labor).
  • Eat a well-balanced diet (see your doctor to learn your nutritional needs).
  • Know your numbers, and keep each within normal range (blood pressure, blood glucose, BMI, cholesterol, iron, B12, B-complex, etc.).
  • Avoid risky behaviors, and eliminate your bad habits before becoming pregnant.
  • Limit alcohol use; avoid drug use and smoking.


Beginning of Pregnancy (during your pregnancy)

  • Get pre-natal care.
  • See your doctor (OB/GYN) on a regularly basis.
  • Maintain a healthy weight, proper nutrition and physical activity.
  • Keep your numbers within normal range.
  • Make sure any infection, condition or disease you may have is properly treated and managed.
  • If you have diabetes, make sure to maintain a tight glucose control (keep blood glucose in normal range).


Doctor and Patient Communication (is very important)

  • Talk to your doctor about your pregnancy and women’s health needs.
  • Ask about vaginal deliveries and ways to avoid a C-section.
  • Ask about ways to prevent a high risk pregnancy and complications.
  • Don’t believe the old saying, “once a C-section, then all your pregnancies must be a C-section.”
  • Labor is a natural process.
  • Labor pain is not abnormal and there are many ways to help a woman address it.
  • Long delivery time is not a reason for a C-section.
  • In spite of all of the best laid plans, sometimes a C-section is needed.
  • Get a second opinion if your doctor is not supportive of vaginal deliveries after a cesarean section.


Avoiding a Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy is an operation to remove a woman’s uterus. Hysterectomy is the second most frequently performed surgical procedure, after cesarean section, for women of reproductive age in the United States. About 20 million U.S. women have had a hysterectomy.

In the United States, about 600,000 hysterectomies are performed each year. There are cases when a hysterectomy needs to done, like in ovarian, cervix and uterine cancer patients when conventional medicine (treatment) has failed, and it is done only as a last option. However, the majority of hysterectomies is done for noncancerous reasons, like fibroids, endometriosis, abnormal vaginal bleeding and adenomyosis.  These have treatment options.

In fact, about 70 percent of hysterectomies are due to fibroids alone, thus hysterectomy for noncancerous reasons should only be considered only after all other treatment approaches have failed. ◆

Visit cdc.gov and piwh.com to learn more about C-sections and hysterectomies. See a doctor regularly for all your health needs. If you don’t have a doctor or need a second opinion, contact delRosario at pith or call (717) 737-4511.

Take good care of your health! Send your health questions to ¡Hola, Oralia! at dr.oralia@gmail.com.  Together we can help keep Pennsylvania residents healthy.  ¡Salud!

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