Ask the Doctor: Should I opt for a c-section?

Q. I’m scared to go through a vaginal delivery. Should I opt for a c-section?

pregnant woman 200x300 Ask the Doctor: Should I opt for a c section? Photo

Do you fear the delivery?

A.  With more women working and taking a more active role in their health care decisions, demand has grown to schedule a C-section. Women want to plan the date around other commitments. Others simply want to avoid the trauma and risks associated with a natural delivery:

  • Long hours of labor
  • Pain during labor and vaginal pain after delivery
  • Loss of vaginal elasticity
  • Risk of bladder prolapse in the future
  • Incontinence
  • Pelvic floor injury
  • Nerve injury to baby with shoulder dystocia (getting stuck in the canal at the shoulder level)

While these fears are understandable, there are increased risks to both infant and mother by undergoing a cesarean section. As with any surgery, the four biggest risks are:

  1. Increased or uncontrollable blood loss
  2. Increased infections and possible sepsis
  3. Reaction to anesthetic agents
  4. Scarring and adhesions

 

Besides the external scarring, scarring inside the body can lead to chronic pain, bowel obstruction and future infertility.

Adding to the downside, one may experience:

  • Prolonged hospital stays
  • Delayed bonding with your baby
  • Breastfeeding problems
  • Prenatal complications with succeeding pregnancies (e.g. placenta previa, premature birth, uterine rupture, placental abruption)

Keep in mind that the decision you make for type of delivery in this pregnancy will affect the outcome of future pregnancies – regardless of whether this one is planned or an emergency type.

If you still feel scared and stressed about the decision, talk to your obstetrician. Together you can make the right decision for both the baby – and you.

Read more about pregnancy and delivery in our Pregnancy Patient Guide.