Advertising
Advertising

Common Reasons for Voluntarily Choosing a C-Section

Common Reasons for Voluntarily Choosing a C-Section

The prospect of giving birth is a scary one, especially if you’re about to give birth to your first child. There are two ways you can give birth: vaginally or by Caesarean section (C-section). The former is the unscheduled, more natural way of giving birth. The latter is a scheduled surgical procedure.

C-sections can be scheduled for a variety of reasons, from possible medical complications for mothers to complications for the babies. However, there are some women who voluntarily elect to have C-sections as an alternative to delivering children vaginally.

Medical Issues and History

For some women, medical issues preclude giving birth vaginally. Women can sometimes develop pregnancy-related diabetes, or she may have a pre-pregnancy condition such as high blood pressure that will only increase during the naturally stressful act of labor. Your obstetrician will be able to diagnose any conditions that arise during your pregnancy.

Advertising

Other women may be part of a high-risk pregnancy population, such as being classified as a geriatric pregnancy patient, or those who are over the age of 35 and pregnant. Some experts argue that age does not increase risks in pregnancy and delivery, yet the older we become, the more stress we put on our bodies. Adding pregnancy into the mix is bound to make it more difficult.

What about if you’re having twins, triplets, or quintuplets? Chances are you and your nurse midwife have already scheduled a C-section. Has your child been diagnosed in-utero with a medical condition? It is likely safer for both of you to schedule a C-section in order to plan for possible complications. Sometimes, C-sections happen at the last minute because the baby chooses to make it happen. If a baby is breech, or coming out feet-first instead of head-first, and cannot be rotated during labor, a C-section will be performed.

The Convenience of Giving Birth

Choosing a medically unnecessary C-section can occur for a variety of reasons as well. For many women, it can be a matter of convenience. Knowing the date of your baby’s birth can help you coordinate maternity and/or paternity leave if you have to take it as well as possibly helping with planning for extra help around the house. Planning your child’s birth also gives you a sense of control during a process that typically has you feeling out of control.

Advertising

If you do plan a C-section, you will definitely need more help around the house, as you will be recovering from surgery.  The postoperative recovery time for a C-section is typically six weeks compared to two for a vaginal birth.

And just because you schedule your baby’s birth doesn’t mean the baby won’t have other plans. For example, if you’re a loyal Mindy Project viewer, you will have seen that what little Leo Castellano had planned for Dr. Lahiri was much different to what she had planned for him.

The Anxieties of Labor

Like Dr. Lahiri, many women develop anxiety over giving birth. In fact, there is even a fear of giving birth, called tokophobia. It doesn’t necessarily stop women from getting pregnant, but it can add undue stress to the experience. Stress can also develop if you are fearful of interacting with your healthcare provider. Many doctors and nurses speak intimidating jargon that doesn’t translate well to all pregnant mothers.

Advertising

Tokophobia and anxieties related to labor and delivery can be due to fears of labor pains or tearing. Discussing pain management with your healthcare provider is a great option for easing anxiety around labor pains. Epidurals can be effective if administered at the proper time during labor.

The possibility of tears in the vaginal area also instills fear in many women about to give birth. During some vaginal births, an episiotomy may be performed in order to make room for the baby’s head, but you can choose a provider who does not perform this procedure. Tearing can also happen naturally, and women may choose a C-section to avoid these kinds of injuries.

However, you may be trading one pain for another, as you are electing to have surgery. Again, you will likely be staying in the hospital longer than a woman who’s given birth vaginally. You may not even be able to lift anything heavier than your baby for four to six weeks after your C-section.

Advertising

Experts’ Views

Most experts agree that if you have no medical reasons to choose a C-section, you should plan for a vaginal birth. C-sections can increase the risk of breathing problems for newborns. Because they are not being pushed through the birth canal, fluid in their lungs is not being naturally expressed, so some babies may end up in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. And according to Dr. Allison Bryant, a maternal fetal medicine specialist at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital, there is a small chance some babies could be nicked by surgical instrument during C-sections.

Doctors do agree that if you plan your C-section, you will face fewer risks than having an emergency C-section. But the risks may outweigh the rewards, since C-sections postpone post-birth activities such as bonding and breastfeeding. Vaginal births also decrease your and your baby’s risk of infection, and once you have a C-section, you are more likely to have more C-sections.

Your Choice

In the end, it’s your body and your baby. Make like Sherlock and do your research. Be sure to discuss all your options with your healthcare providers. And be prepared for your carefully-laid plans to be blown out of the water. Just ask Mindy Lahiri.

Featured photo credit: Olivia/Alicja via stock.tookapic.com

More by this author

H. E. James

Writer and researcher

Fashion As Comfort: Using Clothes To Heal I Work in Healthcare; Can I Work from Home, Too? Better Office Setups for Better Office Health Understanding and Dealing with a Difficult Boss How Clever People Deal With Rude People (Instead Of Getting Angry With Them)

Trending in Parenting

1 13 Practical Pieces of Advice for New Parents 2 How to Identify And Play to Your Child’s Strengths 3 How to Help Your Kids to Deal with Bullies at School 4 3 Ways to Motivate Your Child to Learn And Grow Positively 5 The Danger of Overscheduling Your Kids

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on November 20, 2020

13 Practical Pieces of Advice for New Parents

13 Practical Pieces of Advice for New Parents

I have given birth to four babies (in the span of five years, all full term babies too). I have been a foster parent to several babies as well. Our first born only lived 8 weeks. He was diagnosed with a fatal genetic disorder several weeks after birth. Our second baby was actually a foster baby we had for 15 months. She was placed with us when she was seven weeks old. When she was eight months old, I gave birth to a baby girl. It was like having twins.

    And then we actually had twins. I learned quickly that twins are hard. Really hard. But they are fun too. Our twins are no longer babies. They are six years old. I do remember that first year clearly, even though much of it felt like a sleep deprived hazy existence.

    The first six months with my twins was sheer survival mode. They would both sleep for two hours and then wake for feeding. I would bottle feed them, while pumping milk (they were not good at nursing). After I fed them in the wee morning hours and middle of the night, I then changed them, swaddled both, and placed them in their bassinets close to my bed. Then it would start all over again. They would sleep for two hours and then wake to be fed once again. This routine went on for six months.

    Sleeping in two hour increments is not easy. I learned to go to bed at 8:00 pm, so that the two hour increments would add up to enough sleep to function by 7:00 am when our two year old daughter would wake and be ready to start the day.

    It was not easy to have three little ones at the same time, especially with twins who had reflux and colic to top things off. The non-stop crying every evening for hours is something I don’t wish on any parent. It is possible to survive this, in fact, I have friends who have quadruplets. They survived too.

    Our twin boys as newborns was a completely opposite experience than we had with both our foster daughter and our biological daughter when they were babies. The girls were easy babies. They required no “sleep training”, as both were sleeping through the night by three or four months of age on their own. They were happy, easily contented babies. I could take them to lunch with my girlfriends and they cooed happily and entertained nearby strangers with their smiles and baby talk. When I was caring for both baby girls, it made me wonder why so many mothers complained about lack of sleep, fussy babies, and the hardships involved in caring for a newborn. Having very difficult twin baby boys showed me that not all babies are alike.

    What I learned from all these babies I have cared for is that each baby is different. There is no one set formula that works for all babies. Each situation is unique, because every baby is unique. You can have an easy-going baby and it may make you think that all babies are that easy. They are not.

    If you are like most of us who have been blessed to become parents, you will experience ups and downs on a daily basis when you bring a newborn into your home. It will not be sheer bliss to have a baby. They are a great deal of work and take tremendous energy out of moms and dads. However, they can provide you with an overflowing heart filled with love and joy you didn’t know was possible.

    Advertising

    Even though not all babies are alike, I can provide some tips to help you navigate the world of parenthood. Below are 13 practical tips I have for all new parents.

    1. Recognize That the First Year Is Usually Challenging

    I have heard people say that when they have kids it won’t change their life. They will simply take the baby along with them wherever they go. It’s a nice thought, but it doesn’t work out that way in reality.

    If you want to attend a concert, a newborn baby will likely not be able to be brought along. They will cry and interrupt others at the concert. Babies can’t go everywhere we go and do everything we are doing. They cry a great deal during that first year. They also require feeding every few hours. It puts a crimp in any lifestyle.

    The first year is challenging because having a baby will turn anyone’s world upside down. If you are the primary caregiver for a newborn, your life and schedule are no longer your own. You have a tiny human counting on you for feedings, changings, comforting, holding, rocking, swinging, being sung to, and whatever else it is that your baby will need from you.

    We like to think that our own baby will be an easy baby, especially if that is our own personality. The reality is that most babies are high maintenance. They require round the clock care and that it itself makes that first year challenging.

    2. Sleep When Baby Sleeps

    Because babies are so much work while they are awake, take the opportunity to sleep when they sleep. You can’t take a nap while they are awake. Therefore, don’t miss the opportunity to catch up on sleep while they are sleeping.

    It can be tempting to stay up late to binge watch your favorite show. However, the reality of struggling to care for a baby during the day when you are sleep deprived because you stayed up late and then they woke you up four times in six hours will make your day quite miserable. Avoid the misery and try to get enough sleep.

    Often, the only way this is feasible is to sleep when your baby is sleeping. It is exactly why I started going to bed at 8pm when my twins would go to bed. I knew that I would be woken up every two to three hours, so going to bed early was the only way I was able to get enough hours of sleep.

    3. Allow for Normal Household Noise

    My brother and his wife came to visit us a few years ago. Actually it was a 10-day extended stay because they had a hurricane in their area. They had a newborn baby who was two months old. I also had three small kids who were very loud and energetic all day long. We tried to keep the kids quiet so the baby could nap. Like most babies, their son was napping once in the morning and again in the afternoon.

    Advertising

    At first their son would wake up with every tiny noise we made in the home. There was only so much that I could do. I wasn’t go to vacate our house for the majority of the day, just so their newborn could sleep. I knew one thing about babies that my brother and sister-in-law hadn’t learned yet. They learned this after a few days in our noisy home. I told them that if they didn’t rush to get him every time he wakes because of a small noise he will learn to sleep through the noise. By the end of the week, he was napping just fine through our chaos filled noisy household activities.

    I have done the same with my own children. We allow for normal household noise, including talking, cooking, and everyday activities to commence. The baby is often asleep in a nearby bedroom, but they certainly aren’t cut off from the noise.

    When you whisper while baby sleeps and insist on silence in your home for your sleeping baby, then your baby becomes a sleeper who is easily woken by any sound. If you condition your baby to sleep through normal household noises they will learn to be good sleepers in spite of the noise.

    4. Don’t Get Hung Up on Advice From Others

    New parents get a lot of unsolicited advice, especially from family and friends. Keep in mind that they are giving advice because they love you and they are trying to help. However, you don’t have to follow the advice of others just because they offer it. You do what is best for your own baby.

    Just because your sister tells you that you must use organic cloth diapers because it worked well for her children doesn’t mean that you have to take the advice. You can say “thank you” and then do whatever is best for your own family.

    5. Accept Help When Offered

    Babies and small children are a lot of work. I hope that if you can learn anything from me it is that no baby is really “easy”. They all require lots of time, energy, effort, and love.

    When you have trusted people in your life offer to help, then accept their help. My mother-in-law flew in to help us after the twins were born. She was going to stay a week. She offered to stay longer and ended up extending her stay twice, for a total of three weeks.

    If she would have offered to stay longer, I would have accepted the help. It was a blessing to have her there to help us, as we were in survival mode those first few months.

    6. Breastfeed or Formula: Do What Works Best for Your Situation

    The benefits of breastmilk have been proven by science to be better than formula. However, how much better? And at what cost? There are too many women who beat themselves up emotionally because they are unable to breastfeed for one reason or another.

    Advertising

    If your baby is being fed, you are doing a good job. Our foster daughter only had formula as an infant. Many children only have formula because it is the only option available. Our foster daughter is now a healthy and smart girl. Formula did not negatively affect her development. What was most important was that she was fed. This is true of all babies.

    So do what is best for your own situation. If you end up giving your baby formula, remind yourself that millions, if not billions, of babies have grown up on formula and end up being healthy, intelligent, well adjusted people.

    7. Don’t Compare Your Baby to Other Babies

    All babies are different. It is not good or bad. Some babies have colic. It doesn’t mean that they will have issues later. My twins both had reflux and colic and they are healthy and happy six year old’s now.

    Babies all develop at different rates. You can have one baby who walks at nine months and another that doesn’t until 14 months and they are both healthy and happy.

    Don’t compare your baby to other babies. The range of “normal” for development is quite wide. If you legitimately have a concern about their development then ask your pediatrician.

    8. Take a Shower, It Will Make You Feel Better

    We often don’t take care of ourselves as new moms or dads. Many parents spend their life caring for their children to the extent that their own self care goes by the wayside.

    As a new parent, one way to care for yourself is by showering daily. It will help you feel refreshed. Even if it is a five minute quick shower it will help you feel better.

    9. Get Out of the House and Meet Fellow Moms/Dads

    Don’t think you have to parent alone! There are so many parent groups to join. As a new mom, I joined MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and developed some wonderful mom friendships that have lasted for years.

    Look for local mom groups in your particular area. Connection is something that is helpful to all of us; especially connections with others who are going through the same phase of life and have similar experiences.

    Advertising

    10. Get Outside and Walk

    If you are the one who gave birth, then getting up and becoming active can be hard at first. Birth is really hard on our bodies. A simple way to get active that will help with your mood as well is to get outside and go on walks.

    Put the baby in the stroller and get yourself walking outside, even if it is just around the block to get started. You will find that the fresh air and blood pumping through your body will help brighten your mood and spirit.

    11. Find the Humor in Your New Life

    Don’t take your life too seriously. Be willing to laugh at the humorous things when they happen. For example, the blow out diaper that happens immediately after you have bathed and dressed your baby. Your little one is happily cooing and smiling at you when it happens, while you are literally covered in….poop.

    These things are bound to happen. Be willing to laugh and find the humor in life.

    12. Take Photos Because Time Flies

    The days may seem long but the years are short. Time goes by quicker than you will realize.

    Take photos and videos, even when nothing special is happening, because they grow up fast. You will blink and they are no longer babies, blink again and they are no longer toddlers.

    Capture life as it is happening, because tomorrow they are another day older and you can’t get that day back.

    13. Bond with Your Baby and Enjoy the Present

    Enjoy life with your baby and cherish the small moments as they happen. Take the time to breathe in the baby smell that comes from the top of their head, gaze at them as they sleep peacefully in your arms, and soak up the baby giggles. These are the precious moments and memories that will keep you fueled through the many days and nights that will be a struggle.

    They are only babies once, so be sure to take mental snapshots of those precious moments that you want to capture for a lifetime.

    More Parenting Tips

    Featured photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon via unsplash.com

    Read Next