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I have a question about preemies: I would imagine that most are born by c-section just because if they're preemie, they have a greater likelihood of being an emergency birth. Is this accurate? And is a vaginal birth better for preemies? I know that it is considered better for full-term babies because it helps their lungs and gets the fluid out and what-not, but I wasn't sure if this was true for babes whose lungs are not yet fully functional. Anyone know?
 

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I don't know much on this topic, but I can share my experience:
I gave birth to my five-weeks premature baby, vaginally, 10 days ago. It was a very fast labor, and I think she was probably far better off than going through a medicated c-section.
 

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My friend had to induce with pitocin at 36 weeks due to bad pre-eclampsia. She had a vaginal birth with no pain meds. Her babe did spend a few days in the NICU due to breathing issues, then got bad jaundice and had to spend a few more days in the hospital.
 

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Depends on how early. Before 28-30 weeks there can be damage to the skull if a preemie is breech (it doesn't have to dilate fully for the body to slip out). That said, mine were 33 and 34 weekers. The 33 weeker was a c/s and ended up in the NICU. The 34 weeker was vaginal (with an epidural) and did fine. We came home 36 hrs later. I think it is very important to have a vag delivery if it is possible/safe for preemies as they need the lung squeeze of a vag delivery even more. I have seen many, many preterm deliveries and we always aimed for vag unless there was a contraindication.
 

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Both my girls were born vaginally, one at 36 weeks, one at 33. Especially with my first, my births were not treated much like emergencies. The second birth though, because of complications, I was more closely monitored and the NICU staff were standing by to help her if needed.
 

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My first ds was born at 24 wks vaginally. The sOB did an u/s to determine position. Ds was head-down, so sOB said c-section was not necessary. My ds's skull did fine and he didn't have any brain bleeds.
 

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My son was born at 29 weeks vaginally. He did great and never needed intubation. I think a lot of his good health early on was due to being born vaginally.

Whether a premature baby is delivered vaginally or not depends on circumstances, like whether labor has started or not. A lot of pre-e and IUGR (preterm) babies need to be c/s because labor has not started and time is of the essence. My labor was precipitious so, no problem there.


Premature babies do better when born vaginally (when possible). The kick start they get from the labor hormones and adrenaline/noradrenaline helps to prepare them better for breathing. This is what we where told by our neonatalogist and what I've read in my midwifery studies.


Olivia
 

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Mine was just barely permature at 34 weeks but there was never even discusion of a c-section. Preemies aere so little that they slide out pretty easy. Thier heads are rarely even squished. They even remarked on madeline hospital record how unsqished her head was.
 

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Most OBs will want the babe delievered vaginally if at all possible. It really is better. My 30 weeker was a c-section. He was sitting breech, I had ruptured 10 weeks earlier, and my placenta had started to abrupt. I didn't have an emergency c-section, but they called it an "urgent" c-section. I bumped any scheduled c-sections but was able to wait until the next scheduled time slot (they do sections every 2 hours). I wouldn't have even been able to deliver vaginally at term b/c it turns out ds's cord was only 5-6 inches long and had implanted in the wrong place on the placenta. We had a whole mess of problems.

M.
 

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I had my 25 weeker vaginally. I pretty much demanded it unless she was breech, then they said i would need a c/s but luckily she cooperated, came out very easily. Also they delayed cutting the cord because i volunteered for a study they were doing and early results indicated delayed cutting the cord, the babies faired better, which i think most here already know. Even though i didn't want any drugs during the delievery, the nurses reminded me that a med free birth was the best thing i could do for my baby at that point. She said preemies tend to do better without the additional medications.
 

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true, it all depends on the circumstances. my 2nd was induced at 35 weeks b/c of IUGR and they monitored the babe closely. she was fine the whole time but after about 20 hours of intense (induced) labor with an obvious transition-like phases (sweating, puking, giving up) i was still at three cent! my cervix knew my baby wasn't ready so I finally had an epidural to relax and was at ten and with a strong urge to push with in a few hours. she was 4lbs 6oz and slipped out with barely one push. baby needed c-pap and oxygen and blood transfusion (from all the blood gases they were measuring) and stayed in NICU for 12 days. i can't imagine what it would have been like to be healing from a c-sec at that point--pumping milk and being by baby was my focus. i got to say the next day it felt like I hadn't had a baby at all-- not like that hit-by-a-train feeling with first baby (vaginally speaking)
 
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