Caesarean Section

The birthing process is a transformative and momentous experience, and for some expectant mothers, the journey involves making a critical decision regarding the method of delivery. Caesarean sections, commonly known as C-sections, have become a prevalent alternative to vaginal deliveries. This surgical procedure has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, each with implications for both mothers and infants.

A caesarean can be either a planned procedure or carried out in an emergency. A planned caesarean may be necessary if you are expecting a multiple birth, if the baby is in a breech position, or if the placenta is low-lying. You can also elect to have a caesarean if you are concerned about giving birth naturally.

In some cases, it may be necessary to have an unplanned caesarean procedure. There are a few causes for this, the most common being if the baby is not receiving enough oxygen or the labor is progressing too slowly. A caesarean section is usually performed with a spinal or epidural anaesthetic. During the caesarean procedure, the anaesthetic numbs the lower part of your body so you are awake for the birth, but you will not feel pain. The operation is short and generally takes between 30 – 45 minutes.

In most circumstances, a planned caesarean means the baby will be born before you go into labour naturally so you will not experience contractions and labour pain. Another benefit of having a planned caesarean is that there will not be complications that can come with some (not all) vaginal deliveries, such as tearing.

A disadvantage of a caesarean section is that the recovery is longer than a vaginal birth. You may be in the hospital for up to five days rather than around two days with a vaginal delivery, and as you have undergone major surgery, you will feel pain in your abdomen for some time after childbirth.

Caesarean section procedures have been practised for hundreds of years and are considered safe, but like any surgery, it carries some risk. You are prone to a higher risk of infection compared with a vaginal delivery, which can lead to complications.

A major benefit of having a vaginal birth is a much quicker recovery time as you will only need to stay in the hospital for a day or two if the birth is straightforward. With a vaginal birth, there will be no scarring of your abdomen and you are generally more physically able to take care of your baby in the early weeks. Usually, you will not need to take pain relief in the weeks after having your baby.

Vaginal births can take varying lengths of time. Labour times for first-time mums vary for each individual and can range from 8 to 18 hours. Although you will be provided with an expected due date, there is no guarantee of the date or time of delivery.

Vaginal birth labour contractions are painful and can be difficult for some women to bear. However, there are a range of pain relief options available to help you manage your pain during labour including non-medical techniques and medical relief options such as nitrous oxide, pethidine/morphine and epidural anaesthesia.

In most cases, vaginal births are not complicated, but there can be unforeseen circumstances that occur with delivery. Sometimes there is a need to have an intervention such as forceps or a vacuum.

A risk associated with vaginal delivery is a perineum tear. A perineum tear can range from a mild tear to a more significant tears. Depending upon the severity of the tear, it may be necessary for surgical repair and extended healing times. Women who have vaginal deliveries have higher rates of urinary incontinence than women who have caesarean sections.

There are many considerations to take into account when deciding upon the type of delivery for your baby.

 

Pros of Caesarean Sections:

Medical Emergencies:

One of the most significant advantages of caesarean sections is their ability to address medical emergencies swiftly. In situations where complications arise during labour, such as fetal distress, placenta previa, or umbilical cord prolapse, a C-section can be a life-saving intervention for both the mother and the baby.

Controlled Delivery Timing

Scheduled C-sections provide predictability in the birthing process, allowing medical teams to plan and prepare for the procedure. This can be advantageous in cases where medical conditions necessitate a pre-planned delivery date or when complications are anticipated.

Reduced Risk of Birth Injuries:

Caesarean sections can lower the risk of birth injuries, particularly in cases where the baby is in an awkward position or is too large for a safe vaginal delivery. This is particularly relevant for mothers with a narrow pelvis or babies with conditions that make the birthing process more challenging.

Less Stress on Pelvic Floor:

Since C-sections bypass the traditional birth canal, they can reduce stress on the pelvic floor muscles. This may be beneficial for mothers who want to minimize the risk of pelvic floor disorders, such as urinary incontinence, which can sometimes result from vaginal deliveries.

Cons of Caesarean Sections:

Surgical Risks:

Like any surgical procedure, C-sections carry inherent risks such as infection, bleeding, and adverse reactions to anaesthesia. While complications are relatively rare, the surgical nature of the process introduces an element of risk for both the mother and the baby.

Longer Recovery Time:

Recovering from a C-section typically takes longer than recovering from a vaginal delivery. Mothers may experience discomfort and limited mobility during the initial weeks post-surgery, making daily activities and caring for a newborn more challenging.

Increased Risk of Respiratory Issues for the Baby:

Babies born via C-section may have a slightly higher risk of respiratory issues, such as transient tachypnea (rapid breathing) or respiratory distress syndrome. This is because the squeezing action during vaginal birth helps to expel fluids from the baby’s lungs, and without this, there is a greater chance of respiratory complications.

Potential Impact on Future Pregnancies:

Multiple C-sections can pose potential risks for subsequent pregnancies. The more C-sections a woman undergoes, the higher the risk of complications like placenta previa or uterine rupture in future pregnancies.

 

Ultimately, the decision between a vaginal birth and a caesarean section is complex and should be made in consultation with healthcare professionals, considering the unique circumstances of each pregnancy. While C-sections offer critical advantages in emergency situations and certain medical conditions, they also come with potential drawbacks that need careful consideration. Expectant mothers should be well-informed about the pros and cons of caesarean sections to make decisions aligned with their health and the well-being of their newborns.

 

Benjamin Mensah

By Benjamin Mensah

Benjamin Mensah [Freshhope] is a young man, very passionate about the youth of this Generation. Very friendly, reliable and very passionate about the things of God and all that I do. The mission is to inform, educate and entertain. Feel free to send your whatsapp messages to +233266550849 and call on +233242645676

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