Once a woman realizes that she has conceived, one of the first decisions she has to make earlier on in the pregnancy is how to deliver her baby.
Now, in the past, vaginal delivery was preferred by most women and considered safest but if current trends are anything to go by, that is no longer the case. Younger new moms and even a few older ones would now rather schedule a C-section rather than go the old school way.
Although cesarean delivery is common, it is also a complicated procedure that puts the life of mother and baby at risk. What then is your role as a physician as far as letting new mothers know about elective CS?
What’s an Elective C-section?
An elective CS is essentially a planned nonmedical surgery to deliver a baby. This decision is now allowed in most hospitals. The modern woman prefers to give birth this way because it gives them more control over when the baby is born and how much pain they feel.
In this era of women’s empowerment, this is not surprising.
Why Would a C-section be Necessary?
Granted, most women choose to have C-sections because they want to avoid the pain that comes with labor and the anxiety of waiting for the baby to come suddenly. However, there are other reasons why it may be necessary for a woman to go through elective CS. Here are some of the most common ones.
For a successful vaginal birth to happen, babies should be in a headfirst position at the time of delivery. Nevertheless, this does not always happen and this is what doctors call breech position. Of course, it is extremely painful and dangerous to give birth vaginally if a baby is in such a position.
As such, it would be advisable to schedule a C-section in such a case.
Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD)
If a woman has a small pelvis, chances are that it will not be possible for them to deliver vaginally. Sometimes, a baby’s head may be too large to go through the birth canal. This poses a safety risk and may be therefore a reason to get a C-section.
Sometimes, the baby in a woman’s womb is not getting enough oxygen and this causes distress. If this is the case and is not attended to promptly, it increases the likelihood of the baby dying. Doctors usually schedule emergency cesarean for such cases.
The umbilical cord can slip through the cervix while the baby is still in the womb. This is known as cord prolapse and it can hinder blood flow to the baby thus putting them at risk. Although this rarely happens, an emergency CS is the only way to remedy the situation.
If an ultrasound reveals that the baby in the womb has particular birth defects like congenital heart disease or excess fluid in the brain, they may recommend a C-section to reduce delivery complications.
Terminal Health Conditions
Chronic health conditions like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease can make vaginal delivery dangerous for a woman. In such a case, doctors may prescribe a C-section to reduce the chances of complications during delivery.
A C-section may also be necessary if the mother to be has genital herpes, HIV, or any other disease that could be transferred to the baby during vaginal delivery.
A multiples pregnancy poses several risks during delivery including distress for the mother and prolonged labor. Sometimes, the babies will even be in abnormal positions. Whatever it is, a C-section is always the safest way out.
Do C-sections come with Risks?
Most mothers and children come out of C-sections well even though it is a major surgical procedure. That said, it comes with more risks compared to a vaginal delivery including:
*Heavy blood loss
*Uterus and incision infection
*Injury to baby or mother
*Anesthesia side effects like headaches, vomiting, and nausea
*Longer hospital stays
Giving birth vaginally is preferable because of the faster healing time and the reduced risks associated with it. However, pregnancies can be predictable hence necessitating the need for cesarean delivery. If a mother to be prefers to have a C-section even without any medical conditions behind it, she should first weigh the pros and cons of doing so.