Though the human body is beautifully designed to deliver a baby naturally, there are times when it cannot happen easily. In earlier days, women or their babies died due to complications during birth, but thankfully, we now have C-sections that doctors perform on women who aren't able to deliver naturally, and babies are delivered surgically. Do you really need C Section Delivery? Get all your C Section queries answered
But remember, C-sections aren't bad by themselves. Though in general, a C-section is more dangerous than a natural birth, with greater side-effects than natural birth, there are several cases where a C-section is by far the safest option. You'll have heard several people complaining that doctors these days conduct C-sections unnecessarily, and that if they'd waited, the child would've been born naturally. It could be true in some cases, but it is not always so. In hindsight, it might seem to a layperson that a C-section wasn't needed at all. But you should remember that doctors have to consider what is best for the baby and the mom, and for several reasons, they might zero in on C-section as the safest option.
So what are these circumstances under which a C-section becomes necessary?
1. Pregnant women with chronic conditions like diabetes, high BP, heart or kidney disease are slotted for C-sections long before they are ready to deliver. A vaginal delivery can be stressful, and a C-section is safer in this case.
2. HIV-positive women and women with genital herpes infections stand the chance of passing their infections to their children during natural childbirth. A C-section is considered safer for the babies.
3. Congenital medical conditions in the baby might make natural delivery more stressful for the baby.
4. If the baby is too large, and the mother's pelvis too small for the baby to pass safely through the birth canal, a C-section is preferred.
5. The baby lying head up in the stomach (breech position)- The baby needs to be head-down for natural delivery. There are ways to turn the baby in the foetus, for instance external cephalic version (ECV) performed late in the pregnancy, after which a baby can be born naturally. But this might not always be possible, and might necessitate a C-section.
6. Multiple births – In case the woman is carrying triplets, or mores, a C-section is preferred, especially if the baby nearest to the birth canal is not in the head-down position.
7. In case of placenta previa (placenta blocking the opening of the cervix) or placental abruption (placenta separated from the uterine wall) a natural birth is considered unsafe.
8. Pre-eclampsia – High BP due to pregnancy – a C-section is safer for the baby and mother.
9. Uterine rupture – leading to hemorrhaging, and reduction in blood supply to child.
10. A previous C-section – Earlier, having had a previous C-section was sure to slot you in the C-section category. But now, VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Caesarean) is increasingly successful, and accepted. It is not always possible for several reasons, though, so do check with your practitioner on this.
11. Other surgeries on the uterus – The uterine scar from previous surgeries might be delicate, and might rupture due to pressure during natural delivery.
12. Labour not moving fast enough - the woman is not dilating in spite of having contractions, and if labour has continued beyond 24 hours, and the baby is showing distress, docs conduct a C-section.
13. The mother is too exhausted to push.
14. The baby shows distress, due to lack of oxygen supply.
15. Umbilical cord prolapse – The cord drops into the birth canal before the baby, and is in danger of being squeezed, cutting off blood supply to the baby.
Some situations are true emergencies. And there is no time to discuss with doctors and weigh options. But there are other circumstances where you can talk to the doctor, especially if he is familiar with your birth plan where you have said that you are gunning for a natural birth. It is possible to consult with him, and discuss the pros and cons, and take an informed decision.
Having a conversation with the doctor beforehand and airing your views on what you want and don't want during delivery is essential if you are keen on a natural birth. It helps if you have a partner or other friends and family who are on your side, and who can speak with the doctor when you are too tired to do so. However, at the end, it is also true that the doctor has the best interests of both the mother and the child at heart, and so, if he reasons that a C-section is absolutely necessary to keep you both safe, it is better to give in gracefully!
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