Giving birth by cesarean section:Everything you need to know.
The joy of giving birth is something that many women look forward to. Of course, women know to expect the pain and screaming and pushing that comes with labor, but it is still something on the cards for many.
While giving birth vaginally is somewhat expected once the pregnancy journey begins, it isn’t always the case. For many reasons, sometimes a delivery by caesarean section is necessary. This is a term that a lot of women have heard before, but may not really know what it is all about.
Get informed with some facts about cesarean section births and what really goes on here. Whether you or a friend or family member are needing a cesarean delivery, it is good to have some information on hand.
Before you start reading, the most important thing you really need to know about a cesarean section delivery is that there is nothing wrong with it! Some people assume it isn’t ‘natural’ or they are ‘missing out’ on something by giving birth this way. Well, the end result is still a beautiful baby wrapped up in your arms. Everyone’s pregnancy and birthing journey is individual and unique.
What is it?
A cesarean section is just another way of getting the baby from belly to world, so to speak. The surgical procedure is relatively simple, but the course of the baby getting out of the womb does change. Rather than coming through the birthing canal, a surgical incision is made in the mum’s abdomen and uterus.
From here, the doctors get the baby out and cut its umbilical cord as they would with a vaginal birth. Aside from the difference of where the baby comes out, everything else stays fairly the same. Mum is still awake, baby is still covered in goop and gross stuff, and there is the same miracle of life.
Why would I need one?
Sometimes a C-section is scheduled in advance. Other times, it is an emergency procedure. It is all very circumstantial. Often, there are medical reasons that affect the pregnancy which call for a C-section. Whether it planned or emergency, a C-section is done for the wellbeing, protection, and health of both mum and baby.
Some reasons you may need a C-section include:
- Surgery around the abdomen or uterus before
- There may be problems with the placenta
- The baby is too big to fit through the birthing canal, or there are two big twins/multiples
- An issue with the umbilical cord happens during labor
- There are chronic health conditions affecting mum, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
What are the risks and complications?
No one ever said that giving birth was a walk in the park. In fact, it can almost be called the exact opposite! Having a C-section is decided by doctors for the safety and wellbeing of both mum and baby. However, there can still be risks and complications associated with it.
There are some common complications that doctors can easily remedy and sort out. These are things like a slight infection in the scar tissue, loss of blood, or nausea and vomiting from the anesthetic. In rarer cases, there might be injury to another organ such as the lung or bladder, but this doesn’t happen often.
What kind of preparation is there?
This very much depends on whether or not the C-section is planned or emergency. If it is planned, there will be fasting involved as you need a heavy anesthetic. Your doctor will talk you through about getting ready for the surgery. In emergency cases, the doctors will typically play it case-by-case. One thing to keep in mind is that to perform the surgery the room has to be at a certain temperature. This temperature is somewhat freezing! Thankfully, there are blankets on hand to warm you up afterwards.
How long does recovery take?
Of course, this does depend on the individual and the circumstances of the C-section. Generally, the recovery time is a few weeks longer than a vaginal birth. This is because you are not only recovering from pregnancy and those bodily changes, but also from a surgical incision and anaesthetic.
When it comes to recovery, rest is absolutely vital. This may seem at odds with a newborn baby, but it is really important to let your body rest and recuperate. After a week or 10 days, start doing some light exercise such as walking as this will help reset your energy levels, but nothing too strenuous so as not to damage the scar tissue. Keeping the wound clean and well bandaged is also important. You can also lightly rub some bio-oil around the incision to help ease the scarring later on.
All in all, having a C-section birth doesn’t change much about the pregnancy journey. For some women, they know it is coming. For others, it is surprise that happens during labor. Either way, you are given the miracle of life and a gorgeous baby at the end.
The most important thing with a C-section is, first of all, not to feel as though you have missed anything. Always remember that no two birthing stories are the same, and there is nothing that can be compared between a vaginal delivery and a C-section. You are still a mother, nonetheless!
Also, caring for the wound after a C-section is vital. Giving yourself plenty of time to rest and tending to the scar tissue will make all the difference. Pregnancy, labor, and delivery are all a massive rollercoaster. A C-section is one twist and turn that you may need, or maybe not.