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Old 03-07-2011, 06:38 AM   #1
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*NEW UPDATE 3/14* Broken rib in late pregnancy = c-section?

*UPDATE 3/14/11 -

I saw a perinatologist today and all systems are go for our homebirth The peri was not worried at all about my rib, and said there is NO RISK to baby and almost no risk at all to myself. So, yay!

*Small update 3/8/11 -

we have an appt with a perinatologist Monday 3/14/11. I'll update afterward.

*UPDATE 3/7/11 -

I have had a few lengthy discussions with my MW and she has consulted with a GYN, and a perinatologist, as well as a few other MWs about the situation.

While a lung puncture can be VERY serious should it happen, there are different severities of lung punctures. Not all are life and death. Some are very small and heal on their own. Others, if the puncture is big enough, are very serious and can cause a lung to collapse.

Thankfully, at this point, unless I suffer another trauma to the same spot, the break should not be serious enough to cause a major puncture or lung collapse.

Also, the odds of a lung puncture occurring as a result of labor is extremely low.

We have an appt with perinatologist soon to discuss our options and to get reassurance that a homebirth is still an option.

Thank you everyone for your kind words and your suggestions.


Anyone have any experience with this?

I'm 36 weeks tomorrow and I broke my (9th on the left) rib coughing last night. I knew it was broken immediately b/c I felt a snap, and immediately I had a lot of pain from that spot. Plus that arae has been really sore in the last week form my heavy coughing.

The ER doc was pretty concerned b/c of the angle of the break that the contractions and force of labor could puncture my lung. He said the words "c-section for safety" or something like that, basically saying that a c/s might be safest to avoid a possible lung puncture.

How likely is something like that to happen? Is it a worst-case-scenerio kind of thing? Or is it a real concern? Anyone know?

I'll be calling my HB MW in about an hour to discuss options with her. But I am so bitter over this. I never wanted to have another baby in a hospital after my first. I had some cute onesies made that say "homebirth baby" etc. on them. I fully anticipated a normal, natural, healthy birth like I've had twice before. And now this. I'm TERRIFIED of surgery and needles. I was having panic attacks just from BEING in the ER last night. I don't know what to think or how to handle this. Please, if you've had any experience like this before, or if you know anything about this, please give your suggestions/advice.


Last edited by Kiliki; 03-14-2011 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:26 AM   #2
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Re: Broken rib in late pregnancy = c-section?

I have an acquaintance who broke a rib during pregnancy and she did not have to have a c-section. I can try to get the full story but I don't know her that well.

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Old 03-07-2011, 11:29 AM   #3
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Re: Broken rib in late pregnancy = c-section?

Oh mama I'm so sorry. I don't have any knowledge of such things but I sure do understand how bad this stinks. Did you talk to your MW yet? I'm really curious to see what she says. ER Drs are a little dramatic in my opinion about such things but then again a punctured lung would be very serious. I'm sorry. Please keep us posted!
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:07 PM   #4
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Re: Broken rib in late pregnancy = c-section?

No advice, but just wanted to send and
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:42 PM   #5
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Re: Broken rib in late pregnancy = c-section?

I would be freaking out in the ER, panic attacks as well, BTDT in my last pregnancy w/ an ER visit. I personally would not have a c/s.
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:49 PM   #6
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Re: Broken rib in late pregnancy = c-section?

I would contact the MW/doctor who will be taking care of you for the final decision. ER Docs are great people who have a large breadth of knowledge but not a huge depth of knowledge in all fields. I would have a long conversation with your personal doctor who's going to be doing the delivery with you about it...someone who's specialty is birth. FWIW, I know several people who've broken ribs and haven't had c-sections so I know it's not a definite thing.

hope you feel better.
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:39 PM   #7
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Re: Broken rib in late pregnancy = c-section?

^What she said. ER doctors are trained to take care of you on the spot. That's where their experience lies. Their OB experience is limited. So I would definitely check with your midwife and get a second opinion from an OB if necessary.
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:18 PM   #8
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Re: *UPDATE in OP* Broken rib in late pregnancy = c-section?

Ouch! These are the scariest type of stories IMO. A good friend broke a rib when pregnant with one of her boys. They set it with no anesthesia (UGH) and she ended up delivering just fine vaginally. I'm not sure where in her pregnancy she was when she broke it but she was just fine. I imagine in your case it depends on when you go into labor and how much time your body has to heal that break. So sorry mama. Good luck to you and your home birth and your little one!
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:13 PM   #9
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Re: *UPDATE in OP* Broken rib in late pregnancy = c-section?

I still think your risks of surgery are greater than risks of lung puncture. Is it the pushing that they are worried about? I don't understand why a c/s would be less risky....I have had two and they aren't exactly the most gentle things in the world, they push and tug on you pretty hard! Plus I have always gotten sick right before and after the surgery (which is very common) and vomitting with a broken rib would not be fun. I have not vomitted with my VBAC's though I hear some do.

If it IS the pushing they are worried about, why not plan on breathing baby down rather than bearing down hard? Your body will get that baby out, even if you are out cold. That is what they used to do in the old days! My gma was knocked out for all of her births and the baby's just came out with the contractions.

FWIW I broke my tail bone about 2 months before DS3 was born. He was to be my first VBAC and I was so worried I wouldn't be able to do it! Even though I was in so much pain at first, I healed up fine within a few weeks and it didn't complicate my delivery at all.
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:10 PM   #10
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Re: *UPDATE in OP* Broken rib in late pregnancy = c-section?

I would love to breathe the baby down - but, unfortunately (?) my body pushes on its own. I have no control over it at all and it bears down with such force that I am usually left breathless after a pushing contraction.

At least, this was my experience the last two times. This time could be different, and I'll keep in mind the breathing down if I am able to control it this time.

I don't know if it is the pushing they are concerned about - I think so. But it's irrelevant at this point b/c I think from what I am hearing thus far, the risk of lung puncture is so minimal, it would not outweigh the risks of major abdominal surgery. If my lung DOES puncture, and it is severe enough for a chest tube, the chest tube is less invasive than full blown surgery. So, in that sense, even having a lung collapse is safer. Less painful? I don't know. But safer - less risky.
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