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Why is there such judgement over having a C-section?


I read a tweet at the weekend by an antenatal blogger, bemoaning the fact that the number of C-section operations are rising in the UK.

When I did my prenatal classes, I remember there was a very short section at the end about what would happen if you had to have an emergency C-section.  I also remember mentally switching off and smugly thinking “Well that’s not going to happen to me”. What an idiot I was!

Two weeks later and 54 hours into my hideous labour, my unborn son is in distress and I’m being rushed to theatre for an emergency C-section. He’s born safe and well and I shall be thankful forever for the procedure that probably saved both our lives.

A quarter of babies are born in the UK by C-section. So why is having a C-section looked upon so negatively? And why do people who are so influential to pregnant mothers (like that antenatal blogger) make women who have them feel inadequate?

I felt deprived of the wonder of having a natural birth and felt I had failed as a mother because I didn’t do it naturally like my own mother had done.

Fortunately, by the time I was pregnant with my daughter two years later, I’d spoken with many other mothers who had had C-sections for a range of reasons. This made me realise that for the sake of my unborn daughter and my own health, I should opt for an elective C-section and that there was no shame in making that sound medical decision.

My point is that there should be no negativity about how a child is born these days. A C-section is not the easy option. It’s a major operation and unlike other operations when you are given time to recuperate and recover, with a C-section, you go straight into the hardest time of your life.

So, please can we have some sense from these so-called experts? If I were running the NHS purse-strings, I suspect that I’d have a motivation to reduce C-sections as they are obviously more costly. Antenatal professionals should be promoting choice and not paying lip service to it. They should be working with parents to find the best option for them.

So what do you think? Am I being over-sensitive and naive? Or do you value the opportunity for choice as I do?





Leave a comment

    From Sarah
    I think as far as possible women should be encouraged to have a natural birth. Of course if there is a risk to the baby then a C-section must be performed to save the baby's life. My first child was delivered by emergency C-section. He would not have survived a normal delivery. However, having learnt much about child development I have come to learn that children born via C-section have increased risk of developmental delay. We are built with a set of primitive reflexes for our early survival, these include being able to wiggle our way into the world, rooting for the breast and then sucking to feed on the breast. These are reflexes and not conscious thought. If a baby is not delivered in the normal way then these reflexes are not necessarily turned off as they should be and this affects brain function and can go on to interfere with how we learn and develop. The higher rate of C-sections is thought to be one of the reasons why there is an increase in learning difficulties in our children. The good news is, that if these primitive reflexes are retained they can be switched off through exercise and movement with more severe cases (like my son) requiring reflexive therapy.
    From Lucy Quick
    Hi Dawn
    Yes, I think that more listening should be done for the individual person's needs. I'm sorry that you had a traumatic experience.
    From dawn
    i feel that women should have the option of a csection especially if you are high risk pregnancy like i was when i was pregnant. i was classed as high risk pregnancy due to diebiets and having to take insulin four times a day but when i asked for a csection i was told i had to try and have baby natraul. evn though the consultant told me that my child could be still born and i needed to have a planed start date.anyway i was given my date to be started off but ended up going back into hospital due to bleeding. in which i was kept in hospital and started off the next day but it didnt work, two days later i was started off again but this time hooked up to a insulin driver but within minutes of the insulin being put up i hemridged and was rushed to theatre for an emergency csection. my baby was out within minutes and was completely fine and so was i. but i felt let down due to the doctor making me have a normal birth even though i was high risk and having scans every week untill baby was born. if they would of listened in the first place i would not have gone through a trauma like i felt i did
    From IY
    I feel quite the opposite being pregnant with my second child now (having the first one naturally, no meds, no epidural) and my private OB trying to brainwash me into having a planned C-section because baby is currently breech (he still has 5 weeks to turn!). I can see his motivation: he is getting paid a lot more and he can schedule it at a convenient time for him. If I had to do a C-section in the end for medical reasons, I would and I would not feel like a failed mother. It is just I realise that having a baby naturally gives it a good med-free start in life, just as the nature intended … and I am ready to give him every chance to be born naturally at the small expense of my labour pains, which are afterall natural and quite manageable (labour pain can be effectively managed through breathing and other known techniques).
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