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 How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father 2 14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All 3 Signs of Postnatal Depression And What to Do When It Strikes 4 How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids) 5 The Leading Causes of Prenatal Depression and How to Manage it Best

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

Advertising

The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

Advertising

As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

Advertising

I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

Advertising

The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next