Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New trend: C-sections for all

I overheard a discussion between some women about babies and being mothers. The gist was that these young women have come to the consensus that they will be delivering their children by cesarean section because it's "so much easier" and less painful. Listening to these women made me upset. Very upset. Has our American society become so over scheduled that women feel they must schedule the delivery of their children? Where is our sense of uncertainty? Our fear of what cannot be scheduled has dominated our common sense. To all the women who think that having a Cesarean Section is a much better way to have a baby there are some interesting points you may want to know before scheduling your delivery:

The pain you will feel for the 3+ months afterward are well worth it, because you really don't need to tie your shoes, pick up a dropped bottle, sit down or bend in general without searing pain. (Especially if your OB/GYN uses staples to close up your incision.) Putting your precious sound asleep baby in the crib without wanting to scream from bending wrong is quite a feat. It's so much easier to have the baby surgically removed than even consider going through the agony of birthing labor, I mean, really, what the heck are drugs for anyway if you can't use them? It's not like you'll be busy after having a major surgery. You'll be home all day with your precious, perfect, quiet, babe, there's no need to feel like doing much.....because all that taking care of an infant stuff is a breeze when you're on narcotics.

Before judgments can be made and fingers pointed I would like to make clear my opinion on this matter. As a mother that had two cesarean operations for the births of my children* I understand the importance of this procedure. I have first hand experienced the fear, pain, recovery and respect for this surgery. This procedure is not to be taken lightly. I do not believe in the scheduling of a birth as a means for avoidance of pain is something a woman should do. I don't know how to make the seriousness of cesarean sections more clear to those women out there considering this option. I will say this: Childbirth is painful no matter how you deliver your child(ren). Weather you birth vaginally or by abdominal surgery there is pain, there will be pain but it will pass. My point is this do not think that a C-section is a way to bypass the pain. To choose this so casually is disappointing. If you think that somehow you will avoid pain you are most certainly wrong. I encourage woman to fully learn about the surgery before making a decision of how to birth your child. There are tremendous risks and several things to consider before moving forward with a cesarean. I will give you some questions to ponder as well as some resources to investigate.

How old are you?
What is your current level of fitness?
How is your tolerance to pain?
How long will the grandmas, aunties, etc. be willing to help you?
Will you have someone with you at all times?
Do you think that you will have someone help you get into bed when you need to sleep?
Will you have to cook or do any light housework?
Are you going to be home alone most of the day while the father is working?
When will you need to return to work?
Do you know how many abdominal muscles are required to pass a stool? (You'll find out)
Will someone be able to drive you around? Being on the narcotics means you cannot drive.

Essentially anything, everything requiring daily movement of your body, specifically the core of your body is compromised for weeks and weeks. The medical community mentions recovery time between 6 to 8 weeks but you have to know what that means. It does not mean that you will be comfortable doing any sort of bending at the waist or lifting. Your incision will hurt for much longer. Exercise will be painful and horrible but you will have to do it to heal. Then when you think you are getting back to normal you'll bend over in a way that will make you feel like you have to vomit because of the pain. Those are just some of the things you'll have to manage with a needy newborn, your lack of sleep, lack of help when you need it, all while on narcotics that make you inhibited.


Also for further reading:

Choosing Cesarean Birth: An alternative to today's crisis in Natural Childbirth? M. Murphy, MD.
This article is very informative going over the brief history of the surgery as well as describing the procedure. I find it particularly important to read the Technique of Cesarean Section portion as the author with gentle description goes over the surgical procedure. I found it useful because reading this I was reminded of the various layers that need to be cut to perform the surgery safely.

A news release from the American College of Nurse-Midwives: Risks of cesarean delivery are under reported, benefits overstated Briefly points out the trend of non-necessary cesareans being performed and the lack of education patients are getting about this procedure.


* my c-sections were the result of my narrow hips unable to birth a 10# first born and an almost 9# second born.

2 comments :

knitting chick said...

Don't forget about if you are not born with a "normal" working female organs, and have a c-section you will lose massive amounts of blood and have to stay in the hospital for 2 weeks longer than normal so you don't die. then go home and not be back to normal for about 5 months.

Helen said...

I am with you on this. I had a c-section with my first child and a VBAC with the second. I know which one I prefer. I was back on my feet far quicker after the VBAC than the c-section, AND I lost the pregnancy weight much quicker too. Maybe that will motivate women to go natural if they can. Weight loss seems to be what most people consider important these days.