7 Things That Could Lead to a C-Section and How You CAN Avoid Them!
Pregnancy can be the most exciting phase in a woman's life but it is also the most fragile one. Keeping your health graph smooth-sailing right from planning to post-delivery is very, very important. Even though a mom-to-be's body is naturally equipped to handle changes, there's no saying what could trigger something unexpected. And this can even result in having to get a C-section you hadn't anticipated...
As pregnant women, all of us hope and pray to give birth to a healthy, strong child. To ensure this, we live 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.
Pros and Cons of C-Section
If a vaginal birth seems too risky for a pregnant woman, doctors recommend proceeding with a c-section delivery. But why does the thought of c-section makes a woman anxious? Is it good, does it have any side effects? Before you make your own assumptions about c-section, know what are its pros and cons:
A planned c-section is very convenient for a pregnant woman. The date for a c-section delivery is already scheduled, so the mother-to-be can relax and prepare for the delivery.
A c-section reduces the chances of any infection affecting the baby in case if the pregnant woman has any infection like herpes or hepatitis.
After a c-section, the cases of urinary incontinence are also seen less in new mothers.
The chances of birth trauma that is generally observed after a vaginal delivery also lessen in a c-section delivery.
Another good thing about a c-section delivery is that it reduces the risk of pelvic floor injury.
As a c-section delivery is a surgical procedure, blood loss will be more and even the chances of getting an infection are increased.
While doing a C-section delivery, a woman is given anaesthesia which has certain side effects. For example, a woman may have a headache, experience nausea or vomit. Even a baby might be affected by anaesthesia.
After a C-section delivery, the new mother may face bowel problems.
A woman who has undergone a c-section delivery may also deal with breastfeeding problems during the early stages.
After a C-section, a baby too may have respiratory problems.
Women may experience numbness and pain in the abdomen area.
Recovering after a C-section delivery also takes time.
As per some studies, babies who are delivered by a C-section are likely to be obese during their childhood and adulthood.
Now, as you are aware of the pros and cons of a C-section delivery, know what may lead to a C-section and how you can avoid it.
5 Reasons for Cesarean Delivery and How to Avoid It
C-sections are recommended by the doctors 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 the 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 more effectively.
2. 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:
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.
Infections: When a woman has severe infections, like HIV or herpes, she is suggested a cesarean surgery.
What you should do: 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:
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.
If a baby suddenly experiences a problem during labour, like he has a slow heart rate or is not getting enough oxygen, then doctors will have to do an emergency C-section delivery.
What you should do: 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
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.
More Than One Baby - If you are carrying multiple babies, there's a high chance you will have a C-section as it is more likely for one of the babies to be in a strange position.
What you should do: 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. 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.
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. 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 him about his views 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.
6. Birth Defects and Placenta Problems
Placenta provides nutrition and oxygen to the growing baby in the uterus through an umbilical cord. If there are some problems with the placenta, like placenta pervia, (a baby lies low in the uterus and covers the cervix of the mother) it would result in excessive bleeding at the time of vaginal delivery. In such a case, a doctor performs a c-section delivery. If a baby is diagnosed with certain birth defects it may also affect his health over the period of time. So, to reduce the complications in delivery, doctors opt for a c-section.
What you should do: To avoid placenta problems consult your doctor. Also, abstain from smoking as it one of the major causes of this problem. To lower the risk of birth defects in babies, maintain a healthy weight, consult your doctor, keep away the infections, and again do not drink alcohol or take drugs.
7. Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD):
CPD is a condition when a mother’s pelvis is too small for the baby to come out or when the baby’s head is too large. In this situation, a doctor may have to perform an emergency c-section.
What you should do: Vaginal birth becomes impossible if a woman is diagnosed with CPD, as it is generally known when a woman has labour pains. So, in such a situation instead of panicking a woman should try to relax during delivery.
Tips for Normal Delivery to Avoid Cesarean
Women get apprehensive when they think of undergoing a c-section delivery, and why won’t they? A c-section pose cons in the long-run. To avoid having a c-section they go extreme measures. But, it is not that difficult to avoid a c-section. Here is what you can do:
Avoid Stress: Pregnancy brings with itself anxiety and lots of stress. But in reality, it is the time when a woman should be happy and enjoy this phase to the fullest. Hormones play a havoc during this time and can leave you feeling either happy or low. So, try to create a positive atmosphere around you. Try to meditate and think positive; you can also do yoga. If you are fond of reading, it’s time to indulge in new books. Read pregnancy books as soon the information will be useful to you. And avoid mental exhaustion at all cost!
Keep Yourself Hydrated: Water is the remedy for all problems. Keeping yourself hydrated during pregnancy will keep away the urinary tract infections, which are generally common in pregnant women. Apart from water, you can also have fresh juices to keep your water level up in the body. Although, avoid caffeine intake during pregnancy as it dehydrates your body.
Eat Healthy Food: To deliver a healthy baby in a healthy way, eat healthy food. Your diet must include, green vegetables and fruits. Also, include legumes and other protein-rich foods. Essential nutrients will keep the growth of your baby on track and will also give you strength to fight the complications during labour. During pregnancy, a mother’s body also needs iron, so eat iron-rich foods and reduce your sugar intake.
Eat Spicy Foods: Spicy food is also known to induce labour. Eating garlic and other spicy food makes your stimulates bowel movements which in turn creates space for the baby. Spicy foods make body warm and further normal delivery. However, don’t eat too much of spicy food as it causes heartburn and indigestion in you.
Eat Pineapples: Pineapple is rich in bromelain enzyme which softens the cervix and induces labour. Apart from pineapples, you can eat mangoes and kiwi which are also rich in bromelain.
Exercise: A little exercise never harmed anyone and so will it not when you are pregnant. Refrain from doing strenuous exercise. During pregnancy, try doing simple exercises that enhance your strength. Kegels is generally recommended, as it strengthens the thigh muscles and reduces labour pain. Even squats are good, as they make the pelvic muscles stronger and open the hips, which is good for a normal delivery.
WATCH: How Exercising Helps During Pregnancy?
Key Takeaway: Know how is exercising good before and during pregnancy:
Exercising before pregnancy helps in gaining normal health weight which is good for the baby and the mother.
It is also good for emotional health.
During pregnancy too, a woman can continue with her exercise routine for some time but don’t push your body by doing too much of exercise.
If you notice that you are bleeding or have cramps then stop and consult your doctor.
Abdominal exercises like mild crunches can be performed till you are 18-20 weeks pregnant, but after 20 weeks don’t lie flat on your back as it affects the health of a baby.
Try Swimming: Swimming is another exercise which strengthens muscles of the body. It also regulates heartbeat, prevents muscle injury, and keeps you fit.
Breathing Exercises: Practising right breathing exercises during pregnancy is of utmost importance but is given least consideration. A baby needs adequate oxygen for his timely growth, and for that, you must concentrate on your breathing. Meditate and take deep breaths. For normal delivery, try shallow breathing and breathing from the chest and stomach.
Keep Yourself Informed: If you are pregnant for the first time, there are a number of things you will come across for the first time. So, it is best to seek expert help! Read books on pregnancy and childbirth. Join prenatal classes, meet other pregnant woman and keep yourself informed about what to expect during pregnancy. Nothing is difficult once you have enough knowledge of it. Get acquainted with the birthing process to keep all the anxiety at bay.
See a Doctor Whom You Can Trust: Nowadays, it is observed that many doctors for avoiding complications convince a pregnant woman for a c-section. So, choose a doctor whom you can trust completely; make sure that the doctor you choose will inform you beforehand about any complication and go for a c-section when it is obviously inevitable to avoid. Ask your doctor about normal delivery, their charges, and other information. If a doctor is suggesting you for a c-section then consult other doctors as well before settling for one.
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!