I have just discovered I am in the very early stages of pregnancy, I will be 38yrs old when I am due. If I am honest, one of the reasons I have left it so late (having been married 10 yrs) is the fear of having a vaginal birth. Don't get me wrong I am over the moon but I do tend to worry about everything to the smallest detail.
I am reading a lot on MN & through the NICE guide-lines that actually C-sections when planned in advance carry very similar risks as a natural birth (the figures about anomalies are usually skewed because the stats do not take into consideration emergency CS which are obviously performed because something is wrong anyway).
I have 2 friends who have healed perfectly after a cesarean and just have a very thin line (one did it because she had very bad first natural birth and had to the other as a choice). However I read alot about tummy numbness, unhealing scars and "pouches" that don't go away. Not entirely sure what the later is, neither of my friends have what I would call a pouch and seem to have gone back to their usual shape (although both are gym-bunnies and I am not!).
What is the general experience of an elective caesarian (especially from those who have done natural & elective)?
Is this "pouch" permanent / common / unsightly?
I have no desire to go through unnecessary pain - I know it will be a big part of the process either way but would quite happily have a C-section in 45 mins rather than go through a natural birth, if its a much scarier ordeal, just because I am trying to prove I did it the hard way. Obviously provided it doesnt pose a risk to my baby or myself.
Had 2 elective sections and soon having a 3rd.Was v straightforward.1st time had a very minimal scar and no "shelf."Recovery was about 4 weeks.The incapacity is frustrating.2nd time recovery was more painful and scar was not quite as nice but still no overhang and did not stop me wearing bikinis etc.It's quite hard managing with a toddler afterwards as well,mainly because even if you have help at home you are "hands off" lifting and this quite sad if you have a little one needing cuddles.Who knows this time?To be honest with 2 little ones to look after I'm not really looking forward to going through it all again but I felt that so pessimistic about normal delivery the first time so do not regret having either of my sections.
In terms of the pouches and numbness and unhealing scars, well lots depend on these.
Pouch: Depends on your shape before. If you have a perfectly flat stomach and are in great shape and did not put much weight on in pregnancy then you should be OK. If you are overweight with stretched skin and a pouch to begin with, a different story. So much will depend on this - what your muscle tone is like, what exercises you do etc. Probably best to ask a personal trainer about that one.
Numbness - I was numb for about 6 months after my emcs - a friend wasn't and one still is 2 years on. I think it's down to surgeon and cutting nerves, but again get a medical opinion on this.
Unhealing scars would be dependent on how well you are stitched and def on how much you do afterwards. If you bend too much, lift heavy things, basically put that area under great strain, of course it won't heal well. It is major surgery after all. I would urge on the side of caution, not walk for too long, not drive etc. I was over cautious compared to some. Didn't drive for 8 weeks and didn't bend and healed beautifully.
P.S If you want to see a pouch, google images c section pouch. I can imagine though that most women wouldn't really care. It depends on how much body image matters to you (I mean that in the nicest way btw...)
1st time natural, age 35. Had complications so was induced, so I suppose not exactly 100% 'natural' but was VB if thats what you mean. Had major scarring and internal damage, had to undergo surgery for repairs 4 months later.
2nd time 3yrs later and wouldn't have even been considered by me if I hadn't had an agreed elective before we ttc. Very smooth, calm experience. Scar healed quickly and is small, slightly purple in colour, some areas feel a bit numb to touch still but unless i deliberately press the area i wouldnt notice. The CS was 10 months ago and I don't even notice the scar at all now. Don't get me wrong, it's no walk in the park and healing takes time but I would do it again tomorrow.
I have to say that the most memorable difference was the quality of time I got to spend with my 2nd dc. I got to enjoy her straight away. I was such a mess after dc1 I have no real recollection of the first few weeks. Having a bit of overhang or a visible scar pales into insignificance compared to not being able to enjoy or bond with my baby properly IMO.
I've had a vaginal delivery, a crash c-section and an elective c-section. Recovery from the elcs was the easiest of the three. No numbness or problems with scar healing. The emcs was in August 2011 and the elcs in August 2012 so just 12 months apart and I've no ongoing problems at all. If I have any more dc it will by elcs.
Thanks for your posts. I google imaged "the pouch" and its not as bad as I thought - I think the big scary scars are vertical emergency C-sections, the smaller horizontal ones are not so bad at all. And I can live with a little numbness.
I think I will book in for a c-section and go to the child birthing classes so I can make a good judgement but I am definitely thinking C-section sounds the best option what with VB being so unpredictable.
Also good to know that this pouch is not universal, other threads seem to indicate that everyone got one if they had a CS.
Is it advisable to do any core exercises in the early months to train everything up prior to belly swelling (am thinking gentle exercise nothing vigorous).?