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Deciding between a natural birth or planned c-section: Pros & cons?

  1. #1
    RileyC is offline Registered User
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    Question Deciding between a natural birth or planned c-section: Pros & cons?

    Hi

    I'm pregnant with my first child and I'm feeling rather overwhelmed by all the decisions that have to be made (like choosing an OB-GYN) and planning that needs to be done (booking hospitals etc.)

    I always imagined that I'd go with a natural birth, but now that I'm actually pregnant, I'm not so sure anymore. As far as I know, there's nothing about my current health or medical condition which requires me to have a C-section, but the idea of being able to "plan" the delivery date and have some control over the length of the "delivery" is kind of reassuring.

    My mother had a natural delivery and from the stories she's told me (with me she was in labour for 17 hours and lost a lot of blood), I'm pretty frightened with the idea of giving birth naturally. I also know another person who had a natural delivery and now suffers from permanent urinary incontinence meaning that she sometimes wets the bed at night. Although I'm not sure what causes urinary incontinence, the idea that it may somehow be linked to natural births freaks me out.

    What have been your thoughts and experiences for natural birth/ C-sections? If you have a C-section, what healing time is required for the scar? Is the scar small? Is the scar hidden from view if you wear a bikini?

    Thanks in advance for sharing!

  2. #2
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    c-sections ARE routine, but there is nothing about them that makes them anything other than a MAJOR surgery. there is nothing comforting about being strapped "christ-like" to the table, with IV's, BP monitors, medication tubes etc connected to you, not to mention the catheter... you are splayed open in front of an entire operating room full of doctors and nurses. there is nothing soothing about the array of lights shining down on you, it actually reminded me of being abducted by aliens having them experimenting on you... and to top it all off...you cannot hold your child immediately afterwards as you are strapped down and medicated.

    incisions can get infected and be extraordinarily painful. it is difficult to move the day afterward. it's uncomfortable to even roll over in bed. you often end up resorting to using a bed pan. you can't bend down and often need the nurses to help you with picking up your baby.

    not only that, but epidurals, which is commonly used for c-sections, do not always affect people the same way. for my first c-section, i COULD FEEL what was happening. it felt like they were trying to touch my belly button to the ceiling! it was excruciating!

    i had 2 c-sections: the first was an emergency. the second was planned (didn't have any choice of a vaginal/natural birth as there were too many complications).

    PLEASE do NOT think of a c-section as being an EASY solution... it is NOT! it is a complicated MEDICAL SURGERY and should be thought of as such.

  3. #3
    Portia is offline Registered User
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    Definitely the decision to have a c-section should not be taken lightly. There can be complications with c-sections too. One of my friends collapsed several years after her c-section and had to have an operation to remove surgical adhesions. Here is some further info on adhesions: http://www.pregnancy-info.net/c-section_adhesions.html. I had a natural delivery (although with epidural) and am really happy with the choice. I was up and about within hours. The actual delivery was a bit painful, but most of labour was not due to the epidural.

    By the way, some incontinence issues are related not to the birth, but the pelvic floor getting stretched due to pregnancy itself.

  4. #4
    RileyC is offline Registered User
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    Carang and Portia, thanks for sharing your experiences with me. I find it more helpful and insightful to get first-hand info from other mothers.

    Carang, wow your first C-section sounds scary! I realise that C-sections are not to be taken lightly and that's why I wanted to hear what other people have to say so that I can make an informed decision. In fact, I'm generally against having surgery unless it's medically indicated. Maybe the pregnancy hormones are making me freak out about a natural birth! LOL

    And Portia, I haven't heard about adhesions before until you brought it up, so thanks for that. Interesting article.

  5. #5
    Portia is offline Registered User
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    You're welcome. I just think that sometimes the OBs here don't give full information out. My cousin had on OBs who told her that if she did not plan to have a c-section then he would not take her on as a patient as he does not delivery babies naturally! It's really shocking that she was made to choose this at the first visit. I would have found another doctor, but she went along with it and I'm sure she was never told the pros and cons.

  6. #6
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    Gataloca is offline Registered User
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    I had a c-section, and in addition to what Carang experienced, I felt a little bit like cheated and didn't feel any bonding toward my baby after born.... I mean, I was on the table feeling nothing, seeing nothing (because of the curtain). When my doctor told me that my baby was born, I was like "hhhmmmm...... ok, how come I don't hear him cry?".. Actually they were sucking his mocus, but even when he started crying, I felt nothing. When they showed him to me, I wasn't excited either... I mean, it could have been someone's else baby!!! he was like a total stranger to me.

    After few pictures, they took the baby away from me and I didn't get to see him again till the next day.... I didn't miss him at all!.. I started breastfeeding him on the next day, and did as long as I could... but I really got bonded to him much later.

  7. #7
    TNT
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    Apart from getting views on here, do as much research as possible about both natural and c sections so that you are fully informed before you make a decision. I'm guessing you are only just pregnant if you haven't chosen an Ob yet so you have plenty of time. There is heaps available, including many past posts with links on this site. As Portia said you sadly won't always get full or accurate information even from OBs as they all have their own biases.
    I was the complete opposite to you, I wanted to avoid a c section if i possible as I hated the idea of major surgery. Luckily I managed to do this, but I hadn't realised how important it was to research my ob (luckily i picked one who was very supportive of natural birth but i didn't realise that at the time) and the hospital policies in particular and it think it is even more critical in Hong Kong where some of the hospitals seem to have very different policies to Western hospitals.

  8. #8
    Liquorice is offline Registered User
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    RileyC, I had a c-section and it was absolutely fine. Very straightforward. I had no choice as I broke my pelvis and one of my hips in a car accident many years ago so couldn't deliver naturally. I was really worried about it but actually it went very well. You are strapped down and it is quite clinical but I didn't have any problems during the procedure (it is all over with very quickly) and no problems at all bonding with my baby. They brought my baby straight over to my husband and I. My husband held him though I could not - could only see him, but as soon as I was in the recovery room they brought him to me. In terms of recovery, I had a lot of pain at first but it only lasted for the first 24 hours - I had morphine for the first 24 hours but not even oral pain killers after that - and I discharged from hospital after two days as I was up and about and fit to leave already. It is major surgery though and it takes 6 weeks before you are healed completely. Unfortunately I didn't have the choice of a natural birth, but I just wanted to give you another perspective on c-section because it isn't always that terrible.

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