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Postpartum - After Delivery

Cesarean Birth

When it comes to childbirth options, there is a major difference between giving natural childbirth and cesarean birth. With a cesarean section or cesarean birth, it is usually a medical necessity. However, some mothers are opting for a cesarean birth over natural delivery.

Cesarean section birth can seem scary because it is often associated with life or death situations for both the mother or the baby. However, keep in mind that most doctors are used to delivering babies in cesarean birth because it is a lot more common that you may think. A c-section can take place sometimes in emergency situations, but often times a doctor can predict ahead of time when a cesarean birth will be necessary for the mother and the baby. The amount of women having c-sections are continuing to rise, now at about 30 percent of all pregnant women, because doctors are seeing the benefit of conducting a c-section during certain types of delivery to help reduce the amount of complications that can arise during a natural delivery.  

What is a c-section?

In a cesarean section, the delivery of the baby is done through a surgical incision in the mother's lower stomach and uterus. Because it is an abdominal surgery, it is considered to be higher risk than natural delivery that is done vaginally. The complications that can arise during a c-section can include excessive bleeding, blot clots, infection, longer hospital stay, longer recovery, injuries to the bowel or bladder as well as more postpartum pain. The risks for the baby during a c-section including anesthesia response and or breathing problems. However, doctors are becoming so much more accustomed to doing c-section deliveries, the numbers of complications during a cesarean birth are greatly reducing each year. There are some women who choose to have an elective cesarean section. Some women choose to do this so they control the time and date when their baby will arrive. Some women are also worried that vaginal birth will change their bodies and aren't willing to take the risk. However, many doctors advise against elective c-sections simply because there are so many risks involved for both the mother and the baby. It is important to consult with your doctor about this ahead of time. Some doctors will refuse to conduct an elective c-section. 

Reasons for a cesarean birth:

  • Sometimes women are encouraged to have a c-section birth if they have already had one in the past.
  • The baby is too big to be delivered vaginally. This can fall under a condition called macrosomia. This often occurs if the mother is diabetic, has gestational diabetes, or if you have had a baby before that had serious trauma during vaginal birth.
  • A baby is in the breech position prior to delivery.
  • The baby is in transverse position with its shoulders coming first rather than the head.
  • There are problems with the placenta, for example it is wrapped around the baby's neck or other limbs.
  • Having more than one baby can be a reason for a cesarean birth.
  • If the mother has a vaginal infection like herpes or HIV that can be transferred to the baby if delivered vaginally.
  • If the mother already has a serious medial condition like diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • If the baby has a certain type of birth defect.

What to expect:

Cesarean births often include many of the other same practices as other types of surgery. The operating area will be prepared meaning the pubic hair may be shaved, or at least a portion. The mother will receive an IV as well as a catheter in the urethra to drain urine during the procedure. Once you move into the operating room, you will be administered the anesthesia and a screen will be raised above the waist so you won't have to see the incision being made. Your partner or husband is generally welcome to be there with you throughout the process. If you wish to see the moment of delivery, you can ask a nurse to lower the shade partially to see the baby. 

How to prepare for a cesarean birth:

As previously mentioned, there are many instances in which the doctor may know ahead of time the delivery should be done via c-section. In this situation, you also have the chance to mentally prepare for such an event, just as you would prepare for having a natural birth. Be sure to consult your doctor about any and all questions you may have regarding your c-section. It is also a good idea to talk to other women who have gone through c-section births to get a first-hand experience of how they went. Remember, not every c-section goes the same way just as no vaginal births are the same. However, finding out what to expect is a great way to help prepare for a cesarean birth.




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