Oby-gynecologists will do all they can to help a mom have a natural delivery. The caesarian section is generally considered to be an emergency procedure, done only if a normal labor will compromise the health of the mom or the baby.
However there is a growing trend of what is called an ‘elective caesarian’ where a mom will inform the doctor that she prefers to have this done and will even schedule it. They say it’s their right to choose how their baby will be born. But what are the pros and cons of elective caesarians and what does the medical community have to say about it?
Doctors debate on elective caesarians
The elective caesarian is a widely debated topic in obstetrics/gynecology circles all over the world. In fact, the World Health Organization has declared it “too risky.”
Only a small percentage of all pregnancies requires C-section, and these are usually pregnancies facing certain risks. These risks may include structural problems in the mother’s reproductive system, abnormal position of the infant in the womb (such as breech presentation, or the infant’s bottom is likely to come out first), and others.
What makes a Cesarean section ‘elective’ is the absence of any compelling medical reason to perform a C-section. Research shows that about 2 out of 100 caesarians are likely to be elective, but this is a very rough and very low estimate. In many cases the doctors will hide the elective C-section under some vague indication, like non-reassuring fetal heart rate, or something that would be medically acceptable.
Why women want elective caesarians
What puts ob/gynes in a pickle is that while they need to inform a woman that elective C-section is not a primary consideration for any form of birth, a woman’s right to determine what’s best for her body and her child deserves respect.
Doctors will also consider the feelings of the patient. Some women are very afraid of birth pains and would do anything to escape it—even if it means going under the knife. However, the doctor must also help manage the anxiety by providing any information necessary to make a sound decision. For example, there are some risks to caesarian sections that people don’t know, which make it seem like an easy way out.
Risks of caesarian sections
While childbirth is safer now more than ever, thanks to newer drugs and safer techniques, it requires the use of anesthesia, which carries along with it some risks. In an uncomplicated C-section, an anesthetic is injected into the space surrounding the spinal cord (spinal anesthesia). In a few cases, the use of spinal anesthesia could result in a significant drop in the mother’s blood pressure.
Many women can’t walk for 24 hours after a caesarian section, which increases their risk for developing a blood clot in the vein. This blood clot could detach itself from the vein and travel down the bloodstream. Called an embolus, it could reach the lungs and block blood flow, which may then deprive the body of oxygen. If this happens, she may feel chest pains, dizziness, palpitations, or a drop in blood pressure. In some cases, it could make her cough up blood. If not detected early on, pulmonary embolism may lead to death.
And a caesarian section is not necessarily painless. In some cases, there might be more pain after giving birth in a C-section than in a normal delivery.
Photo from savagephotography.co.uk
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