While your grandma will continue to say the safest way to deliver a baby is the old fashioned way but c-sections are more common in this day and age, here are a few reasons why.
What Is a Caesarean Section?
A Caesarean Section, otherwise known as a C-Section, is the surgical way to deliver your baby. This is done under spinal anaesthetic and will mean you will still be awake but the feeling in the lower part of your body will be numb. Whilst you will not feel the procedure, you may still feel tugging and a lot of pressure whilst trying to deliver the baby. The surgeon will complete a 10-20 cm incision just below your bikini line in order to gain access to your baby. This surgical procedure will take around 40-50 minutes.
Why Would I Need a Caesarean Section?
A C-Section is often not carried out through choice, there is usually an underlying medical reason as to why you would need to undergo the surgery instead of having a natural birth. You may be taken for an emergency c-section but this can be in the best interest of mum, baby or both. Here are a few medical reasons for why you may need to be taken for a caesarean section.
👶🏻Baby in Distress:
Throughout labour your baby will be monitored and if there is any signs of your baby being distressed, the doctors will intervene. If it is noticed your baby is not getting enough oxygen and there is a sudden change in your baby's heart rate then you could be put forward for an emergency C-Section.
The position of your placenta will change the experience of labour you have. If you have a low-lying placenta covers the cervix, known as Placenta Previa, meaning the doctors will have to do a C-section in this case. A c-section will also be carried out if you experience Placenta, Abruption, which is when the placenta is separated from the lining of the uterus. This can be dangerous as the baby will be losing oxygen quickly so this again will be an emergency procedure.
Is it possible to deliver a baby vaginally after having previously having a caesarean, this is referred to as Vaginal Birth After C-Section (VBAC). Many women opt to have a repeat procedure as this can often be the safest option for both mother and baby.
🆙Up, Down, All Around:
The best position for your baby to be in is baby's head pointing down towards the birth canal and their back against your tummy, so they are facing your spine. If your baby is not cooperating and is lying in strange positions or is tap dancing on the birth canal instead of your ribs, this could be a problem. You may need a C-section in order to get your baby out safely.
👬🏻Twins, Triplets, Quadruplets:
Your body is built to carry a baby, yes, maybe even two or three. But when carrying multiple babies, your risk multiplies also. The outlook is to deliver the babies in the safest way so a C-section is always considered when more than one baby is concerned. It is very rare for a women to have a vaginal birth when carrying anything over three babies.
🚮Umbilical Cord Prolapse:
Umbilical Cord Prolapse is when the cord slips through the opening of the cervix and will drop down into the vagina before the baby has, this can happen before or during labour and can be very dangerous. There is a possibility of a C-section being carried out as when the cord is trapped or strained, the baby will not be getting enough oxygen.
✋Failure to Progress:
If the doctor notices that you're failing to progress during labour, resulting in "Prolonged Labour" otherwise known as "Stalled Labour", they will intervene and a C-section may be necessary. This will only be done if your labour is longer than 20 hours.
If you or your baby is diagnosed with a serious health condition then they will assess the risk and may choose to deliver your baby early via C-section. This can be anything from heart conditions to your baby contracting an infection which would be better treated outside of the womb.
👌🏻Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD)
Have you ever been told you have a small pelvis? Probably not but this is a thing, your pelvis can actually be too small to deliver your baby vaginally. In this case a C-section will be done. So do think about what you ask for off Father Christmas, maybe a bigger pelvis?
What Is An Elective C-Section?
You can now request to have a C-section for your own reasons and this will be discussed with the doctor. This is known as an "Elective C-Section" and is becoming more popular as we speak. Many women opt for the major surgery to the following reasons:
- Fear of birth,
- Wanting to plan,
- Previously had a c-section,
- Anxiety around baby's health,
- Health conditions.
Like everything, electing for a c-section has its positives, and as expected a list of negatives also.
C-section's (unless emergency) are scheduled in for a specific date and time, meaning you can plan around this date and have a thought through delivery. This makes your baby's birth a little more predictable.
✅Distress = No More:
You have less chance of your baby being starved of oxygen when having a C-section, making this easier for them to get the baby out with less worry and concerns surrounding the baby.
✅All in One Piece:
This is pretty obvious but your chances of having vaginal tearing is reduced to nothing. So everything down south will remain the same and no healing will take place down there.
❌Pack Your Bags:
You will have an extended stay in hospital which can be up to 5 days for many women after your C-section, it is major surgery after all.
You are expected to give yourselves at least 6 weeks to recover from this surgery and as you may have heard, isn't a walk in the park.
Your chances of blood loss and infection is increased dramatically with having a C-section. You have high chances of a blood clot forming.
Once having a C-section, you're more likely to have a repeat procedure with future pregnancies. This is not always the case as you can have a vaginal birth after having a C-section, but it is most common.