It’s becoming common for expectant mothers to schedule a cesarean birth rather than go through labor. In fact, many women who are frightened of labor and birth are begging their doctors for cesareans. So why are doctors refusing, saying that vaginal childbirth is better than caesarean birth for mothers and their babies?
A cesarean birth is major abdominal surgery. During a cesarean a low cut is made into the abdomen, and then into the uterus. The doctor then pulls the baby out through the opening. It’s rare when mothers are “put to sleep” or given general anesthesia for the surgery. Most cesareans are performed with epidural or spinal anesthesia, which is safer for the baby.
- Labor matures a baby, making them better able to adapt to an air environment, rather than a water environment.
- Vaginal childbirth squeezes amniotic fluid from the baby’s lungs helping them to take their first breath and helping to prevent breathing complications during the first days of life.
- There is less risk of premature birth with vaginal childbirth if dates are wrong. If your dates are incorrect you could accidentally give birth to a baby that hasn’t finished its development and may need to spend time in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) to finish growing.
- More bonding time and less skin-to-skin contact. Babies that are held skin-to-skin immediately after delivery have better body temperatures, better heart rates, better respiration, better blood glucose levels, cry less and breastfeed better. If dads hold babies skin-to-skin after delivery, it provides almost the same benefits (just not the breastfeeding benefit, obviously).
- Risk of death in cesareans is 1 in 2,500 as compared to 1 in 100,000 for vaginal births. However, both of these numbers are very low.
- There’s less healing time with vaginal births. Cesarean mothers over and over tell us the recovery time is brutal. A cesarean is major abdominal surgery that takes many weeks to recover from. The recovery is very painful, even with pain medication, and you’re expected, after major surgery, to care for your baby and learn to breastfeed.
- Breastfeeding is often easier in vaginal childbirths since the mom doesn’t have worry about her incision. In addition, with cesarean births, breastmilk may come in later due to the pain from surgery.
- There are fewer complications with vaginal birth. Like any surgery, cesarean births statistically carries risks of bleeding problems, damage to other organs and scar tissue which may make other pregnancies a little riskier. While these complications are rare, all it takes to avoid them is to choose a vaginal birth. In addition, there is a risk of infection which is painful, can complicate breastfeeding, can complicate bonding and carries a higher risk of long-term fertility problems.
Despite all this information, some expectant mothers do benefit from a scheduled cesarean birth— women with medical conditions such as placenta previa, and women with malformed pelvises who can’t pass a baby through them. Many women with breech babies will benefit from a scheduled cesarean birth due to concerns about the baby fitting through the pelvis in a breech position, though some studies question this. In addition, women with severe abuse histories, where birth can bring up many of the old feelings (click here for an article about how abuse can impact giving birth) or women who have experienced an extremely traumatizing previous birth may benefit from a scheduled cesarean birth.
In many cases, cesareans are performed after labor begins due to either fetal distress or failure to progress. Be sure to discuss the need for a cesarean birth after labor’s begun with your care provider to make sure all your questions are answered. Click here for an article about preventing a cesarean birth.
The information in this article is not medical advice. This information is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure anything during your pregnancy, birth, or postpartum time. Always check with your care provider before following any advice from TheOnlyBabyStop.com.