Natural Birth or Elective C-Section?

(31 Posts)
happygoluckyinOz Fri 12-Jul-13 05:09:36

I’m just wondering – is there still a stigma attached to going for an elective c-section?

I’ve had a couple of friends who’ve given birth over the last few years, and I haven’t heard one ‘good’ birthing story. In fact they all sound horrific; tearing, forceps, being cut, 4 day labour, incontinence, blood clot in the brain (of the mother) due to such a long labour and one even fainting at home and having to be readmitted to hospital because she’d lost more blood than they’d realised (being separated from her 1 day old first baby for 5 days).

Now, if you had the choice, to be able to plan the date, go into hospital in a relaxed way, have a c-section and stay in a private en-suite room in which your partner can also stay with you overnight – would you make that choice?

I’m just interested in the pro’s and con’s I guess of each option – having not had to make the choice myself yet.

MrsWooster Fri 12-Jul-13 05:24:10

Natural birth, with en suite room, partner etc... The other is an operation with all that entails and vb is, horror stories aside, a natural thing. I had one hard back to back labour and one gorgeous easy TENS job. Vote epidural if it starts smarting a bit and go natural; pushing your baby out is pretty amazing- as is having it via CS, I'm sure but most people don't have the Grand Guignol scenarios you describe. Incidentally vb is not Victoria Beckham, tho post still makes sense that way...

cantreachmytoes Fri 12-Jul-13 05:31:04

I don't know really on the elective stigma, but I'm not sure it's so easy to get one on the NHS without very good reason. And I'm also not sure that you should worry about what other people think of whatever you choose - it's your body.

I do know that there are many good birth stories AND that some people have a sort of competition to outdo others (in general, or specific people) with having The Worst birth story. Not to say that the things your friends are talking about didn't happen, but they don't happen to everyone.

A c-section isn't a simple cut and you're done, it's a major op and one you generally don't find you get any post-op sympathy for, in the way you would if you'd had a non-baby related op.

I'm sure more people will comment who had all sorts of experiences with vaginal and sections, but I think you're looking at the comparison in a skewed way. How about comparing the best vaginal birth with the best c-section (and that includes postpartum recovery too) and the worst vaginal to the worst c-section.

There is a site with positive birth stories (I think mainly vaginal) with a Facebook page called Tellmeagoodbirthstory.

Not sure of a similar one for sections.

Whatever you decide though, everyone's and their auntie will have a pearl if wisdom to share with you, often disapproving. Ignore them!!

cantreachmytoes Fri 12-Jul-13 05:33:13

Sorry, phone typos!

happygoluckyinOz Fri 12-Jul-13 05:42:45

Good point about comparing the worst vaginal to the worst section, hadn't thought about it that way - guess because I haven't heard any stories about sections...

I'm in Australia and have private medical insurance that covers pregnancy, so the situation I describe is an option for me, I understand the NHS works differently and not everyone has a choice, which is why I asked "if you did".

All useful!

mamalovebird Fri 12-Jul-13 05:44:24

Natural birth. I had one of those horror stories for dc1 but I'd still choose it over a c section as recovery time is much quicker. I was healed by 4-6 weeks, no restrictions on lifting/driving etc. depends how much support you have I guess. I had none so needed to be up and about pretty much immediately.

I was considering an elcs With dc2 due to my previous experience but in the end she came in 3 hours and it was much easier and was fully recovered by 3 weeks.

I found it really hard for any midwives or consultants to entertain an elcs. They were all pro-natural birth with an cs being a last or emergency resort.

Notafoodbabyanymore Fri 12-Jul-13 05:57:10

I had an emergency ceasarean with dd1 then a vbac with dd2. CS, after long labour and really wanting a natural birth, was actually a lot easier than I would ever have expected, even including the recovery. I would have been absolutely fine to have had an elective CS second time around, but decided to try for a vbac and see what happened. So glad I did! Took about 15 hours, only used gas and air, had 2nd degree tear, but it was one of the best experiences of my life and recovery was so much quicker.

So, what am I saying? Don't know, really. I guess neither option is necessarily easier than the other. Chidbirth is usually painful and difficult, but utterly, utterly worth it!

TwoTearsInABucket Fri 12-Jul-13 09:45:54

The thing is, on the NHS you wouldn't get a private ensuite room where your partner stays the night. You might get a private room but your partner is definitely not allowed to stay the night.

Having had an emergency CS with very good recovery and a VBAC with 3rd degree tear and not so good recovery I am very up in the air with this third one. First I had thought I wanted an ELCS, because, as you say, controlled conditions and very calm unlike emCS. However, I felt like I was in control for the VBAC but I did tear at the end.

OH described my CS to me. He said he looked over the curtain at what the (very very very lovely) doctor was doing. Dr got a scalpel, went ziippppp and according to OH I opened up like a book. BLEURGH. OH also said that it looked like I was being cut in half.

It is not an operation to be taken lightly. And it is major abdominal surgery, which cannot be underestimated. As cantreachmytoes said you don't get the same post-op sympathy.

So, in answer to your question, both CS and VB are risky so I have no idea what I would choose. And I need to choose in 19 weeks time. And to make my "choice" I would have to persuade the NHS that an ELCS is the best thing for me if that was my decision.

Beamae Fri 12-Jul-13 12:16:59

I'm having this same quandary at the moment. I met with my NHS consultant yesterday to ask for another c-section. My first was 22 months ago for my twins, it was an EMCS and I don't remember it being too bad. The pain on the first and second day was crippling, but after that it was increasingly manageable. I know everyone says it's major abdominal surgery and you can't drive for 6 weeks etc, but I wasn't in pain for those 6 weeks. Certainly, as soon as I was back home and administering my own pain relief it was plain sailing. I also like that the risks of a c-section are known and anticipated, whereas with natural it is all up in the air.

Having said that, this time around I will have two year old twins at home when I bring the new baby back from the hospital. The downsides for me are having a longer hospital stay and then not being able to look after them. Last time I didn't have energetic mini ninjas climbing all over me when I got home.

Anyhow the consultant has referred me to the hospital VBAC clinic, not to bully me, he says, but to persuade me to try a natural birth. I cried all the way home because I also have zero good birth stories. Even people who thought labour was okay have had hideous after effects, stitching, surgery and incontinence. I find the whole business unnatural, which I know is skewed. I also have very skewed logic with regards to wanting an epidural, but not wanting an instrumental delivery. It seems that I would also rather have the 100% certainty of having a major abdominal operation than risk potential surgery for something that may or may not happen with natural childbirth, which I am aware is also a bit bonkers. I'm very confused!

I have friends who have I think paid a surcharge in Australia to recuperate in a beachfront hotel, staffed by midwives, after their c-sections. Looks a lot better than the grotty NHS ward I was on for 5 days!

Kelly1814 Fri 12-Jul-13 12:21:31

I also live in a country where am private and if have a c section you automatically get a private room with a bed for your partner to stay and they keep you in for 4 nights. Lots of friends who have had c sections here said they were amazing and never wanted to leave the hospital!

Looking likely I will need a c section and am very positive about this.

Like you I have many friends who years on still have post vag birth problems.

elliejjtiny Fri 12-Jul-13 16:07:57

I had VB's for DC's 1-3 and a section for DC4. If I have another DC I will be hoping for another VB.

Ushy Fri 12-Jul-13 19:13:36

Done it both ways (more than once) and c-section every time. VB definitely better if you could guarantee a normal delivery but you can't. Electives can go wrong too, but not nearly as frequently as VB.

Katzia85 Fri 12-Jul-13 22:00:44

I had an EmCS with DS1 and now pregnant with number 2, I have the choice. My recovery after EmCS was okay and pretty easy actually (disliked the intravenous antibiotics - I used to cry when I heard the drugs trolley coming as the antibiotic was so gloppy and thick I could see my vains bulging) haha.
This aside, I can't decide which to go for and part of me feels I am losing the excitement of spontaneity of labour sad but then doc told me if I try myself for a normal VG delivery I will be brought in a week early, they will start my labour with a drip and rupture my membranes etc, so either way there is a lot of intervention to look forward to sad And if I am not progressing as they would like, I will be a c section anyway.

chunkymonkeybaby Fri 12-Jul-13 22:15:56

I chose an ELCS for my first baby. I have severe tokophobia though. From my booking appointment my midwife was incredibly understanding and referred me to a consultant who was also great and agreed to the ELCS immediately. I know it doesn't always work like that in the NHS though unfortunately.

I have no idea about natural birth and what it's like, I can't think about it for long as I get too upset. But my ELCS was a very positive experience. I didn't have much pain either, I was on a morphine drip for around 18 hours and then just paracetamol and ibuprofen after that and it was fine. I just found it a bit awkward moving around for a while, but by no means was it constantly hurting me. I would absolutely have another caesarean.

mikkii Fri 12-Jul-13 22:18:01

I was induced with DS, because my waters broke but labour never happened. To be honest, it wasn't as bad as I expected. I managed with Meptid and gas & air. I had an episiotomy as DS's heart was slowing down as he was stressed. I had a manual removal of placenta in theatre and the cut was also stitched there. This might sound rough, but DC1, 7 hour labour when head wasn't engaged, I was happy.

DD1&2, placenta praevia. Hospital admissions with both, ELCS with DD1 (although I object to that term as it really wasn't a choice, it was her only way out!). Recovery was ok, out after 2 nights, managed ok at home with DH help.

DD2, same problem, CS was booked, but ended up with an emergency one due to bad bleeding a week earlier. Hospital expecting lots of problems, about 15 staff in theatre, paed's outside, the whole shebang (blood recycling machine all set up ready to go), everything went smoothly, home after 2 days, driving 3 weeks later.

In my case, sections were a matter of life and death, all birth experiences positive as live mum and baby.

Fairylea Fri 12-Jul-13 22:22:54

I was induced with dd now aged 10 and ended up with a ventouse delivery following a 67 hour labour with epidural.

I chose to have ds now aged 1 by elective c section.

I'd choose a section every time. And both were nhs (I fought for my section on birth trauma grounds). My section was complex as they discovered I had undiagnosed planceta previa and I lost a lot of blood but the recovery was still amazingly better.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Fri 12-Jul-13 22:27:19

I have one great and one tough vaginal birth (with forceps). I have never had a section.

For me, the thought of being conscious for surgery is hideous. The thought of them cutting into my stomach muscles and moving my internal organs about is hideous.

And the thought of missing my baby's birth (to be under general) is pretty horrid too.

I know others feel very very differently, but it's my worst nightmare.

Marrow Fri 12-Jul-13 22:31:05

Section without a doubt! I had EMCS with dd after she got stuck following an induction. I healed very quickly and was up and about, walking, driving etc within a fortnight.

DS was vbac. He was delivered with forceps which caused me horrendous damage, I was in pain for weeks and it took me many months to recover. I still have ongoing problems nearly three years later.

playftseforme Fri 12-Jul-13 22:34:44

Vb (no issues) for dc1, elcs for dts - elcs was just wonderful, and definitely preferable to vb. grin

YoniWheretheSunDontShine Mon 15-Jul-13 16:42:30

I really do not like the idea that women want to out do each other on the most horrific births.

I think its really really crucial women feel able to share their birth stories with each other without fear that they are only trying to be gruesome.

happygoluckyinOz Tue 16-Jul-13 09:39:44

Thank you for all the feedback ladies I've found it very useful!

I think I'm going to go for an ELCS when the time comes as I'm not one of those people that feels a need (or want) to have a vb. In fact the idea of it scares the hell out of me.

I will be lucky and have support when the time comes, my husband has a generous paternity leave (4 weeks full pay and 2 weeks stat pay) so will be on hand to help for at least the first 6 weeks. I've also got my mum coming to live in Oz in the next 6 months and I know I'll have to physically restrain her if I don't want her to help!

And, yes, the hotel, sorry hospital I've found looks lovely grin

TripleRock Tue 16-Jul-13 11:23:55

I had a bit of a nasty emcs with DD and now 31 weeks with DC2 I have the choice of an elcs or vbac on Nhs.

In my heart of hearts I would love a straightforward vb, however no-one can guarantee me that.

The thought of another cs fills me with dread tbh but I have heard that elcs is very different from emcs, especially crash cs like mine, so the jury is still out here.

Saw a birth story on fb vbac support group this morning from a lady who got to 8cm in the pool then still ended up with a crash section under general. Its given me a little push towards an elcs if I'm honest.

BeyonceCastle Tue 16-Jul-13 11:47:27

3 x vaginal
2 x intervention following epidural

1 x natural - nothing, no gas and air, no pethadine, not even a chuffing paracetomol

Had I done the natural birth first I can honestly say I would have had an only child.

but

I have also come across women who had electives no problem and others who really struggled post-surgery.

Make the decision you feel most comfortable with but fwiw I would not wish no pain relief at all on my worst enemy.

MillionPramMiles Tue 16-Jul-13 13:15:48

I had an elcs and can honestly say it was almost pain free. I didn't feel any discomfort during the surgery (it was very quick) and I was up and about the next day (and picking up dd though the midwives discouraged that). I had skin to skin contact almost immediately, didn't have any problems breastfeeding and in less than a week I could comfortably take a walk with the pram. I also appreciated the extra help I was given with breastfeeding by with the midwives during my hospital stay.

I appreciate not everyone has positive cs experiences but I think its important that the positive stories are aired as much as the negative.

Just as a sample, two of my friends and I were all due to give birth within a couple of weeks of each other, all at the same busy London hospital. One ended in an emcs with complications and a week long stay in hospital. The other ended in forceps, episiotomy and a lengthy recovery period. I was the only one of the three of us with a positive birth story.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Tue 16-Jul-13 13:38:18

I agree with the previous posters who have said that it is very personal and that there are brilliant and awful stories about all types of birth. You have to balance your own situation and risks and benefits and make your choice (then be comfortable in it, however it turns out).

In contrast to Beyoncé, I wouldn't wish an epidural on my worst enemy and my birth without pain relief, though painful, was one of the most amazing experiences of my life!

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