Caesarean Section

About a third of women today in the United States give birth by caesarean section. While these are often done in an emergency, more and more women plan, in conjunction with their doctor, to have caesareans.

C-Sections For Convenience

Some expectant mothers like to have a planned c-section out of convenience. They may have very stressful and important jobs, and feel that having a c-section gives them some measure of control over the birth. Also by scheduling a c-section between 9-5 during the week when the hospital staffing is at full strength, you can be sure that your choice of surgeon will be available. Some women are also very afraid of giving birth and feel that having a c-section is the only way to guarantee a pain free, easy labor. Other women worry that by giving birth naturally they will be too stretched 'down below' and it will effect love making later, especially if they have to have an episiotomy. However, these are not really good enough reasons to go through, what is after all, a serious operation.

Older Mothers

If you are an older first time mother,(40+) having a planned caesarean can be a sensible decision as giving birth usually gets harder as we get older. Doctors are also more cautious with older first time moms, and because birth is more hi-tech and managed than it used to be, your doctor may be more comfortable doing a c-section than allowing you to give birth naturally. If your pregnancy was achieved, like many older moms, through assisted conception both you and your doctor may feel that you should have a c- section on a better safe than sorry basis. However, a planned c-section should be your choice and you shouldn't feel railroaded into it. Make sure you discuss the medical reasons why your doctor thinks it's necessary for you to have a planned c-section.

Medical Reasons In Favor

· If the baby is extremely large, especially if you have a narrow pelvis

· If the baby is transverse (i.e. lying across the belly) and can't be persuaded to turn into a vertical position

· Breech presentations - nevertheless some women are able to give birth naturally to a breech baby

· If you have certain medical or life threatening conditions e.g. pre-eclampsia or diabetes

· If it is known that the baby has certain complications as a c-section is less stressful on the baby

· Multiple births - especially when there are three or more babies

Emergency C-Sections

If there are complications during labor your doctor may decide to do an emergency c-section. These complications can include

· Fetal distress

· Placenta problems

· Cord problems e.g. where the cord is too short, or is very long and wrapped around the baby several times

· Extra prolonged labor


However pain free an epidural c-section may be, the recovery afterwards is much harder, more painful and takes much longer than a natural delivery. Having an emergency c-section using a general anesthetic is even harder to get over. Remember, a c-section is a major operation and so instead of being able to enjoy your baby you may not even be able to lift your bundle of joy up, much less carry him or her. Another disadvantage is that most doctors recommend that you don't even drive for at least a month after the operation. Many women are also unable to breastfeed straight away after a c-section, because of the effects of the anesthetic on both them and the baby.

If your doctor recommends a planned c-section, find out why and discuss your other options before making a final decision.