What You Need To Know About C-Section?

No matter what type of delivery you’re planning (or hoping for), a Caesarean section should not be ruled out.

In fact, roughly 32% of women in the United States give birth through C-section, and there’s no reason it has to be a bad experience, says Dana Sullivan, a three-time C-section veteran and co-author of The Essential C-Section Guide (Broadway Books).

Meanwhile, one in every four women in the UK has a C-section, with the majority of these being emergency procedures. Dr Michael Bowen, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, describes caesarean sections and the distinction between a planned (elective) C-section and an emergency C-section.

Knowing how to prepare for and “personalise” a C-section can help make the procedure less traumatic and aid in recovery. Here is all you need to know about C-sections.

What exactly is a C-Section?

A caesarean section (c-section) is a surgical procedure used to deliver your baby. A doctor cuts just below your bikini line through your abdomen and womb and lifts your baby out through it.

If you know you will need a c-section before going into labour, you may undergo a planned (elective) c-section.

If it is the safest option to deliver your baby, you may have an unanticipated (emergency) c-section.

Planned C-Section

A C-section may be safer for you or your baby than a vaginal birth in some cases. For example, your doctor or midwife may recommend a scheduled c-section if:

  • There are placental issues, such as a low-lying placenta (placenta praevia)
  • Your baby is in a challenging labour position, like bottom down (breech)
  • If you have twins that share a placenta, or if either baby is in a challenging position for labour
  • You are expecting more than two children.

Your doctor will explain your birth alternatives if you have HIV or genital herpes. To limit the danger of spreading the infection to the baby, some mothers may require a C-section.

If you are given a c-section for medical reasons, you can choose whether or not to undergo one. You are not required to have one if you do not want one.
Even if there is no medical reason for it, you may opt to have a C-section. Learn more about your childbirth options.

You will see an obstetrician if you opt to have a planned c-section. This is a doctor who specialises in prenatal, labour, and postpartum care. They will go over the advantages and disadvantages of a C-section as well as your other birth options. At your antenatal appointments, you will also meet with a midwife to discuss your options.

At 39 weeks of pregnancy, you will normally have a planned c-section. The goal is to perform the c-section before going into labour. Babies delivered before 39 weeks are more likely to require breathing assistance. There may be medical reasons for delivering the baby earlier than this. For instance, if you are expecting more than one child.

Emergency C-Section

If your baby needs to be delivered urgently, you may need an unforeseen emergency c-section. This could occur if your labour is not progressing or if there is any concern about your or your baby’s health.

The name “emergency” implies haste, yet there is usually enough time to decide whether you want a c-section. Your doctor and midwife will go over your options with you. If your or your baby’s health is jeopardised, you may need to have a C-section sooner.

Myths Surrounding C-Sections

To dispel any remaining doubts, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular myths regarding the surgery, as well as the reality behind them.

1. C-sections are less painful than vaginal births

It is, in fact, a significant abdominal surgery that necessitates a lengthier recuperation period. There are hazards involved in any surgery, no matter how basic. Martin recommends that any woman who is concerned about her discomfort consult with her doctor about possible pain management choices.

2. C-sections lower the chance of prolapse

Vaginal prolapse occurs when the vaginal walls become lax. Because the vaginal wall can no longer support them, the surrounding uterus, rectum, bladder, urethra, and small bowel begin to fall out of their natural locations. This condition, however, is a risk whether the birth is vaginal or caesarean.

3. After a caesarean section, a mother cannot have a vaginal birth (VBAC)

This is the most widespread misconception. VBAC is not for everyone, but most women are good candidates. Women should consult their doctor to discover if they fit certain conditions for a vaginal birth after a previous caesarean. You must also select a birthing hospital that allows and is familiar with performing VBACs, as not all do. Furthermore, because there are hazards, a VBAC should be attempted in a hospital. It is safest to deliver this manner because an OBGYN, anaesthetic experts, and an operating room are always nearby.

4. Breastfeeding will be difficult

According to Shilpi S. Mehta-Lee, Assistant Professor of Maternal Fetal Medicine at the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at NYU Langone Medical Center, the manner of delivery has no impact on your capacity to breastfeed your baby.
According to Dr. Carusi, some of her patients can even breastfeed during the C-section. “If it does not occur in the OR, we have nursing begin as soon as the mother gets to the recovery room and has basic monitoring applied,” she explained. You might also ask your doctor for pain medication to keep you awake so that you can nurse more easily.

5. While giving delivery, you are completely unconscious

While the number of C-sections has increased over time, the usage of general anaesthetic has decreased. Women are increasingly opting for regional anaesthetic, either epidural or spinal, which allows them to remain awake during the birth.

Differences at a glance

It is generally accepted that vaginal birth will result in shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery time post-delivery. On the contrary, c-section births will result in longer recovery times due to the many layers of tissues and skin that the doctor will have to cut through during the delivery process, resulting in you spending more time in the hospital to recuperate.

For the most part, the initial few hours of post-delivery recovery will feel similar and have roughly the same symptoms, and while this may vary from woman to woman, the symptoms after going through c-section will generally start to get more severe from feeling weak, nauseous, to severe pain that could be triggered from something as mundane as coughing or even sneezing.

Vaginal delivery will see the mother being discharged after a day or two, whereas a c-section will know the mother in the hospital for around three to four days with stitches only removed before being cleared by the attending physician. The mother will then spend the next few weeks with a prescription for pain medication to help with the pain. Again, the time frame for recovery will vary, but you should be back to your old self in about a month to around a month and a half – this is assuming you’ve spent that time solely focusing on resting and recuperating. It would take considerably longer should you be up and about doing strenuous activities.

While it may be a risky thing, both methods of delivery pose their own risks, but a possible advantage that the c-section has is that you may end up holding and bonding with your child within the span of an hour. Vaginal birth, on the other hand, may see the mother in active labour for up to four or eight hours, with the whole process consisting of early labour (approximately six to twelve hours), active labour (roughly four to eight hours), the second stage of labour (toughest and most painful part lasting for around fifteen minutes to two hours), and the third stage of labour (usually less than an hour).

Side Effects

Thus far, we have only touched on the side effects from wound healing externally. Internally, there are other side effects, too. We mentioned feeling nauseated, but in addition to that, one may also feel groggy or itchy. These may be side effects of the medication or histamine that build up around the healing incision wound. Others may probably feel some soreness around the incision area and may have bleeding or discharge for up to six weeks after the operation. These are all quite normal, as we’ve mentioned – c-section takes longer to recover.

First-time mothers, do take heed, at any time should you feel the following symptoms, they are not normal and will warrant a visit to the doctor because it could most likely be a sign of infection:

  • Redness, swelling, or pus oozing from the incision site;
  • Pain around incision site;
  • A high fever of more than 38°C;
  • Odoured discharge from the vagina;
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding;
  • Redness or swelling in your leg;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Chest pain;
  • Or pain in your breasts.

Also, be sure to make a call to the doctor if you feel depressed and your mood never seems to lift after two weeks from your delivery date, especially if you find it difficult to bond with your baby.

What You Need To Know About C-Section


Closing words

We hope you are better equipped with more knowledge about the C-section procedure moving forward.

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