Caesarean Section: Neither a walk in the park nor a death sentence

Caesarean section, also known as C-section or caesarean delivery, is the delivery of a baby through a surgical incision in the mother's abdomen and uterus. A caesarean section is often necessary when a  vaginal delivery would put the baby or mother at risk. In some circumstances, C-sections are performed without a medical reason, upon request by someone, usually the mother (Elective CS). In others, the surgery is needed due to an unforeseen complication (Emergency CS). A trial of vaginal birth after C-section may be possible. The World Health Organization recommends that Caesarean section be performed only when medically necessary.

A C-section typically takes 45 minutes to an hour. It may be done with a spinal block where the woman is awake or under general anesthesia. A urinary catheter is used to drain the bladder and the skin of the abdomen is then cleaned with an antiseptic. An incision of about 15 cm (6 inches) is  typically made through the mother's lower abdomen. The uterus is  opened with a second incision and the baby delivered. The incisions are then stitched closed. A woman can typically begin breastfeeding as soon as she is awake and out of the operating room. Often a number of days are required in the hospital to recover sufficiently to return home.

Doctors will recommend a c-section instead of a vaginal delivery in some cases. Examples of such cases include:

1. The mother has had a previous cesarean with a "classical" vertical uterine incision (this is relatively rare) or more than one previous c-section. Both of these significantly increase the risk that the uterus will rupture during a vaginal delivery.

2. The mother has had some other kind of invasive uterine surgery, such as a myomectomy (the surgical removal of fibroids), which increases the risk that the uterus will rupture during a vaginal delivery.

3. The mother is carrying more than one baby. You might be able to deliver twins vaginally, or you may need a cesarean, depending on factors like how far along in the pregnancy you are when delivering and the positions of the twins. The more babies you are carrying the more likely it is you will need a c-section.

4. The baby is expected to be very large, a condition known as macrosomia. Your doctor is particularly likely to recommend a c-section in this case if you are diabetic or you had a previous baby who suffered serious trauma during a vaginal birth.

5. The baby is in a breech or transverse position. In some cases, such as a twin pregnancy in which the first baby is head down but the second baby is breech, the breech baby may be delivered vaginally.

6. The mother is near full-term and have placenta previa. This is a condition when the placenta is so low in the uterus that it covers the cervix.

7. The mother has an obstruction, such as a large fibroid, that would make a vaginal delivery difficult or impossible.

8. The baby has a known malformation or abnormality that would make a vaginal birth risky, such as some cases of open neural tube defects.

9. The mother is HIV-positive, and blood tests done near the end of pregnancy show that she have a high viral load.

A mother may need to have an emergency c-section if problems arise that make continuing labor dangerous to her or her baby. These include the following: - The mother's cervix stops dilating. - The baby stops moving down the birth canal and attempts to stimulate contractions to get things moving again haven't worked. - The baby's heart rate gives the practitioner cause for concern, and she decides that the baby can't withstand continued labor or induction. - The umbilical cord slips through the cervix (a prolapsed cord). If that happens, the baby needs to be delivered immediately because a prolapsed cord can cut off his oxygen supply. - The placenta starts to separate from the uterine wall (placental abruption), which means the baby will not get enough oxygen unless he is delivered right away. - The mother is attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) and there is concern about a uterine rupture at the site of your previous c-section incision.

A c-section is major abdominal surgery, so it's riskier than a vaginal delivery.  The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises women to plan for a vaginal delivery whenever possible. That said, not all c-sections can – or should – be prevented. In some situations, a c-section is necessary for the well-being of the mother, the baby, or both.

Noticed that I used mother throughout this write up? This is because the aim of being pregnant is to become a mother, see your baby and live healthy ever after. Birthing through caesarean section, either elective or emergency, for one reason or another doesn't make you less of a woman and is definitely not an abomination. A problem comes up and the solution to that problem is a caesarean section. Go for it! You will have your bundle of joy to show for it.

Life is that simple. Share to help spread awareness on the importance of consenting to caesarean section when highly recommended. Thanks


Writer at The Healthwise...daily health tips