Holy cow are things heating up over at the Leery Polyp. I didn't comment, partly because there are too many words there already, but partly because it doesn't seem like a discussion that includes people like me. I haven't read all of the comments (I don't have time for a third full-time job), but from what I saw, the discussants fell into two camps: the I Gave Birth Through My Vagina Without Drugs and I Am Proud camp, and the I Couldn't Give Birth Through My Vagina and I Am Hurt that You Are Proud camp.
Where's my camp? The I Gave Birth Through My Vagina With Drugs and Had a Terrible Tear and Still Am in Pain and Wish I'd Had the Damn C-Section but Really Don't Mind if You're Proud camp?
From the research I've done, in the days before modern medicine when women gave birth at home without drugs, very few women died. But a lot of babies did, or were damaged. Birth plans are really for the mother, not the baby. Yes, babies born by uncomplicated vaginal births with minimal drugs do very slightly "better" at the beginning, but this effect is small and transient. And babies born by complicated vaginal births do much worse than those born by c-section, and these effects can be large and permanent. And it's very hard to predict which way things will go. (I've always been intrigued by the stories of girls who give birth in secret and then go back to the prom -- how do they have such an easy time of it? But one of my best friends is an OB, and she's seen several such mothers after the births. She said usually the perineum is a wreck after these deliveries, and extremely hard to repair.)
Women who sense that OBs are resistant to their birth plans are usually correct. But this is because if the result of a delivery is not a healthy baby, the OB is the one who will be blamed/sued/devastated. Hardly any of my students want to go into OB now; it's not worth it.
But I'm way too chickenshit to post this over at Jo's.