Simply put, a caesarean section involves surgery where the baby is delivered through the mother’s abdomen. In developing nations, nearly a third of the women deliver through C-section for various reasons. Some women elect to have a cesarean section and others are left with no other option due to medical reasons; mostly to minimize the risk to the mother and baby. Just as with any surgical procedure, there are both pros and cons to delivering a baby via C-section and must be considered before any decision is made.
Advantages of Caesarean Section
The very thought of the pain and discomfort involved in a natural delivery can be stressful for women. If both the doctor and the expectant mother have arrived at C-section as the better choice, the stress from the anticipation of labor pains can be avoided. Some experts also believe that there is a marked decrease in the risk for oxygen deprivation for the baby during delivery as a result of C-section. The risk to the baby from trauma caused by the use of forceps or vacuum extraction along with any injury that may occur from passing through the birth canal can be minimized by C-sections.
As for the mother herself, some experts believe that incontinence which can develop as a result of a natural childbirth can be avoided altogether through a caesarean section. Women also experience a tremendous sense of control knowing when and how exactly the baby will be born. This may allow her to arrange for help when the baby comes along with planning her work leave. Also, the decrease in the risk of sexual dysfunction is low with caesarean sections.
Disadvantages of Caesarean Section
The date of when a C-section is plan is based on the woman’s due date. If for some reason, this has been miscalculated, then it may result in the baby being delivered prematurely. Another possible yet rare occurrence during cesarean sections is injury to the baby as the doctor makes the uterine incision. There have also been cases where the mother’s bladder or bowels have been damaged during the incision process.
Perhaps more serious than any other complication, is the woman’s risk of blood loss and the subsequent need for transfusion. Also, if the mother has never undergone anesthesia before, there is a concern of how she will react to it such as developing an allergic reaction or even experiencing tremendously low blood pressure. Caesarean sections have also been associated with a slightly greater mortality rate for the mother.
A caesarean section usually involves a much longer hospital stay than with a natural childbirth. A caesarean section may also result in complications with breast-feeding due to the abrupt removal of the baby from within the mother. In some cases, women have reported more intense postpartum depression than with natural childbirth. Some experts also expressed concern about the scarring from the incision that may impact future C-sections.