As pregnant women, all of us hope and pray to give birth to a healthy, strong child. To ensure this, we live as a healthy a life as possible, eating the right foods, getting sufficient exercise, and going for regular check-ups at the doctor. Nothing is more important for us at this time than the well-being of the little one in our womb. However, despite our best intentions, there sometimes arises a situation when the gynaecologist recommends you to have a C-section delivery.
In India, and across the world too, there is immense pressure on women to give birth "via the normal route". A vaginal delivery without any surgical intervention is considered normal, and C-section deliveries are often scored upon as "less real" or "only because the mom didn't want to feel the pain". Nothing could be farther from the truth! No matter what your mode of delivery, the only important thing is that both the mother and the baby be safe. That said, there are some valid concerns that arise out of a C-section delivery. One of the biggest of these is the recovery time you will take after your baby's birth; C-section scars can also take a lot of time to heal. Plus, some studies suggest that C-section deliveries may pose risks for the child, even at later stages in life.
So, what causes C-sections really and is there anything one can do to avoid them?
How To Avoid These Possible Causes of C-Sections
C-sections are recommended by the doctor when they perceive that a normal delivery through the birth canal may lead to complications. If your doctor thinks that a normal delivery may be unsafe for your baby and you, he will then call for a C-section delivery. Here are the main reasons why this may happen:
1. Abnormal Labour
Sometimes, your labour doesn't progress normally, reducing your chances of having a normal delivery. This can happen due to a number of reasons, some of which you can control:
- The cervix doesn't open enough. This can happen due to contractions that are too strong
- Your baby may be too big to pass through the birth canal
- Certain foods or medications have brought on preterm labour in you. One food that is particularly risky is raw papaya. You should also avoid these 6 fruits during pregnancy
Whatever the reason for improper progress of normal labour, the doctor will usually suggest a C-section if there is a risk involved.What you should do:
Join pre-natal classes to help cope with labour pain. This will help you avoid an epidural and induction, if possible, and thus the likelihood of a C-section. You can also help the labour progress normally by finding pushing positions that are most comfortable for you. Check out these 6 ways to manage labour pain
2. These Health Problems During Pregnancy
There are some medical conditions, which if left untreated during pregnancy, can increase your likelihood of having a C-section. Two of the most common problems encountered by many women are:
What you should do:
Gestational diabetes: This has nothing to do with how these women never had diabetes before. This condition happens because when you're pregnant, hormonal changes can sometimes make your blood sugar level rise. This in turn can affect your baby as they get more nutrients from your blood. This makes they grow larger than normal
Hyperthyroidism: Problems with the thyroid gland are fairly common in women, but during pregnancy, this can really make things difficult. If you have or develop a thyroid problem at this time, your chances of having a C-section increase directly
Get yourself tested well in advance and during the course of your pregnancy. If detected, make sure you follow the necessary treatment which includes controlling your blood sugar level, getting exercise, and taking medication, if prescribed. Your doctor will recommend blood tests to measure your TSH, T3, and T4 levels. You should also track symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as increased heart rate and fatigue.
3. Dangerous Foetal Position
Sometimes, a C-section may be required on an emergency basis. Even if all was well during your pregnancy and your labour is also progressing normally, two complications may still arise:
What you should do:
- Your baby may be struggling to get oxygen. This can happen if your baby is in a bottom-down (breech) or sideways (traverse) position. The doctor may then require you to opt for a C-section
- If the foetus moves to a place that puts the mom or baby in danger, the doctor may call for an emergency C-section again, so he gets a more assisted delivery
Since these are emergency situations, there is little that you can - or should - do, as a C-section may be the only way to keep your baby and yourself healthy. However, close monitoring throughout your pregnancy, using regular ultrasound and testing, can help limit the occurrence to some extent. Take a look here at the testing you must get done during pregnancy
4. Your Birth History vs. Present Condition
What you should do:
Prior C-Section Delivery - If you have had a C-section birth before, there is a considerable chance that you may need one again. This is because there is always a risk that your previous C-section incision may tear open during the pressure of labour after caesarean. This can cause blood loss and put you both at risk
While your birth history affects your present a lot, there are some situations when you can still avoid a C-section. If your first C-section involved a horizontal uterine incision and there was no uterine rupture, you can possibly have a vaginal birth the next time round. You also need to prepare yourself by monitoring your pregnancy very closely and getting admitted well in time. You can find more about this below. Can C-Section Moms Never Have a Normal Delivery? This is the Complete Truth
5. Pressure From The Doctor/Hospital
Lastly, over the years, a distressing statistic has emerged in childbirths in India. There are way too many C-sections happening now than what happened in earlier years. While some of these are necessary to save the lives of the mom and her baby, some of these are done under pressure. Whether it is a money-making tactic or the incompetence of the hospital to comfort moms-to-be, remains to be seen. But many moms feel the pressure to have a C-section if their labour is prolonged. It is only later that it becomes apparent that the C-section could have been avoided.
What you should do: It is crucial to find a good health care provider and ask them about their view on C-sections and their cesarean rate. Create a flexible birth plan so that very little planning is left for the actual day and you are more prepared. Also check that the hospital is equipped and accepting to comforting measures such as inducing labour or giving an epidural, if required, and not forcing moms to have C-section deliveries.
Also Read: This Experience During Delivery Shown To Have Long-Term Effects on Moms and Their Babies
Finally moms, the most important tip you have to remember during your pregnancy is this: do not stress! It is almost impossible for you to predict or prepare for certain complications beforehand, so just do the best you can and trust that your doctor knows what's best for you. Also trust your own body and follow its cues. Everything will be just alright...we promise!