I thought it would be beneficial for moms to share their C-section experiences with expectant mothers. The more you know beforehand, the better prepared you will be in the event your delivery ends in a C-section.
Please start here:
Quick facts: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art36018.asp
• The rate of births by cesarean section has been rapidly increasing in recent years. In 1970, c-sections accounted for five percent of American births, while now they account for 28 percent.
• C-section has become the most common surgical procedure performed on women of childbearing age.
• Elective, "by request" cesareans are becoming more common every year. One study by a publicly-traded healthcare ratings company even claims to have found a 36 percent increase in elective cesareans between 2001 and 2003.
• Cesarean section, a major abdominal surgery, can be a life-saver for both mother and baby in a small number of cases. But for most women and babies at the end of pregnancy, the risks of surgical birth outweigh benefits.
• C-sections are also associated with increased risks for newborns, including:
Difficulty breastfeeding and/or bonding, due to decreased early contact with the recuperating mother
Breathing problems around the time of birth
Asthma in childhood and adulthood
Cuts (usually minor) from the cesarean surgery itself.
Cesarean Births For Medical Reasons. What you need to know: http://www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/240_1031.asp
"Cesarean section (c-section) is delivery of a baby by surgery. An incision (cut) is made in the mother's belly and uterus (womb). According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 1 in 3 babies in the United States is delivered by cesarean section.
C-section can be a lifesaving operation when either you or your baby face certain problems before or during labor and delivery. Many women who deliver surgically do not expect it
. Most cesarean sections go well for both the mother and the baby.
Some health care experts believe that many c-sections are medically unnecessary. A cesarean section is major surgery and should be done only when the health of the mother or baby is at risk.
What you can do:
Learn about cesarean section well before your due date so you will be prepared if you need to be. Talk to your health care provider about c-section."
(vaginal birth after a cesarean) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vbac/VB99999
VBAC policies by hospital/state:
After a C-section, many women are candidates for VBAC. Your doctor will review your medical history to help you decide whether VBAC or repeat C-section is appropriate for you and your baby. Here are some
factors your doctor will consider.
What type of uterine incision was used for the prior C-section?
Scars left from certain types of incisions have an increased risk of tearing during labor and delivery — a rare but serious risk of VBAC. You can't tell what kind of uterine incision you've had just by looking at the scar on your belly. Instead, check with your doctor or review your medical records.
Tips for breastfeeding after a C-section:
You can breastfeed right after birth.
- Low transverse incision. This is the most common uterine incision. It's made sideways across the lower part of the uterus. A low transverse incision usually bleeds less than an incision made higher on the uterus. It also forms stronger scars and presents less danger of rupture during subsequent labors — between a 0.2 percent to 1.5 percent chance. If you've had one or even two of these incisions, you may be a candidate for VBAC.
- Low vertical incision. This type of incision is made low on the uterus, where the uterine wall is thinner. A low vertical incision may be used to deliver a baby situated in an awkward position or when there's concern that the incision may need to be extended. A low vertical incision presents a higher risk of subsequent uterine rupture — 1 percent to 7 percent. If you've had a low vertical incision that doesn't extend into the upper uterus, you may still be a candidate for VBAC. However, it's sometimes difficult to determine if the scar is low enough to minimize the risk of uterine rupture.
- Classical incision. This type of incision, also called a high vertical incision, was once used for all C-sections. However, it carries the highest risk of bleeding during labor and of subsequent uterine rupture — 4 percent to 9 percent. It's now used only in emergency situations. VBAC isn't recommended for women who've had a classical uterine incision.
- T-shaped, inverted T-shaped or J-shaped incision. These incisions are used only in emergencies or when problems develop. They're not planned. If you have any of these scars, VBAC isn't an option. The risk of uterine rupture is too great.
It's possible to breastfeed right away if you receive an epidural (regional anesthetic) for the operation, rather than a general anesthetic, and fortunately most hospitals today use epidurals. You'll need assistance, however, from a nurse, doula, midwife, or your husband for that first latch-on -- ask them to prop you up slightly and to help support the baby.
2. Painkillers and antibiotics may have an effect on your milk.
You'll receive medicines via IVs and pills in the days after your delivery, and typically they're fine for nursing mothers and their babies. At most, they'll make your baby a bit sleepy. The benefit of the painkillers is that they'll help you relax enough to breastfeed and stimulate milk production.
3. You might have to try certain holds while you heal.
The traditional cradle hold will likely be too tough on your tummy. The football hold, where baby is tucked beside you, will be easier for now, or you can try breastfeeding while lying down. Ask a nurse, midwife, or lactation consultant to help you figure out the easiest breastfeeding position for you.
4. Get extra help at home.
It's always great to have someone assist with housework and baby care during those first weeks home, but if you've had a c-section, it may be very necessary -- you may have trouble walking, lifting the baby, and caring for older children. Line up help from your spouse (who may be able to take extra time off), your relatives, or friends. Or you can hire a postpartum doula or baby nurse -- the hospital, your doctor or midwife, or your baby's pediatrician may have recommendations.
5. Keep feeding!
While having a cesarean can leave you exhausted, it's still vital to nurse every two to three hours to prevent engorgement. Hopefully, it will be a calming and relaxing part of your day.
Some very good points from Mara.
a CDC study in 2006 found that out of 5.7 million american babies born, those born by cesearean w/ no medical risk factors were three times more likely to die
than babies born vaginally.
those are some scary numbers...
i've done some fairly extensive reading on the topic and between that and listening to a plethora of women on here who are forced into "emergency" c-sections or c-sections b/c the baby is "too big" (aka macrosomia) -- i can only conclude that way c-sections as currently practiced in the united states is bodily abuse of women at the hands of the medical profession due to the medical world being unwilling to back up and look at the research and the wisdom of non-invasive procedures such as external manipulation of the fetus to rotate it.
there are studies that refute the frequency of macrosomia (too big to pass through the birth canal) as a justification for c-section (not to mention the known inaccuracy of ultrasounds when it comes to accurately estimating weight/size of the fetus in the first place).
all that to say, i don't think that most of the women on here who've had c-sections truly needed them. some did. many did not, many were put into the medical maze of labor and birth and when their labor failed to progress in accordance w/ the hospital clock, were then forced to take pitocin, increasing fetal heart rate, putting them on the table for a c-section.
at the end of the day, this major abdominal surgery which slices through seven layers of your stomach/uterine tissue... infection, blood loss, uterine rupturing, and so on, are just an index of how violent this process truly is-- despite the woman being drugged to high heaven.
Best of luck on your L&D journey. Chat away.