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Why is there so much judgement directed at c sections?

(489 Posts)
DanceLikeTheWind Sat 19-Nov-11 05:21:25

I honestly don't want to start another endless VB v/s CS debate. I am just eager to read any insight that people may have on this topic- Why are other women so judgemental towards women who opt for c sections, whether elective primary c sections or repeat c sections?

There are several reasons why I will opt for a c section: a prior (minor) uterine prolapse, anxiety issues, and a family history of erb's palsy and incontinence.
I have faced nothing but judgement, ridicule and even hatred from other women sadsad

I am well aware that this is a major surgery with a longer recovery. I'm well aware it shouldn't be done prior to 39 weeks (unless of course I go into spontaneous labour). I'm well aware of the increased risk of complications in future pregnancies, however I don't plan on more than two babies.
I'm also aware of the risk of staph infection.

However, by opting for a c section I'm reducing my chances of developing
incontinence and prolapse. I have a zero chance of suffering an obstetric fistula, a third or fourth degree tear and perineal trauma.
My baby will be at a reduced risk of cerebral palsy, erb's palsy, brachial plexus nerve injuries and trauma caused by a possible assisted birth.

I'm not hard-selling c sections here, just pointing out that there are some benefits to a c section as well.
Why then do people only focus on the negatives? And why are the varied risks of a VB ignored simply because it's 'natural'?

pinkytheshrunkenhead Sat 19-Nov-11 05:38:07

No one cares what you do really. The point is that it is your choice, I think you are crazy to put yourself through it if it is not necessary but that is my opinion. All the possible outcomes you quote for vaginal birth are the worst outcomes (it is possibloe for none of these things to occurr of course) and you quote all the good outcomes for cs so your argument is a tad biased. On reflection for most women v is safer, that is why they do this and encourage it. If you choose to go against that that is your business but don't expect people to agree with you.

You do sound very anxious about it all perhaps you should seek some counselling before you find yourself in this situation and perhaps you will be able to make a decision without the possible fear of all things things possibly happening.

I have had four babies, all vbs, at home with no probs whatsoever. I am pregnant with number 5.

Please do no mistake people disagreeing with you as hostility or judgement, they might just think you are wrong and that is allowed.

DanceLikeTheWind Sat 19-Nov-11 05:53:29

Hiya pinky,

I stated the risks of a c section as well not just a VB. I'm very aware that a spontaneous, uncomplicated VB is best but there are no guarantees for that at all are they? In the presence of the uncertainties surrounding a VB, a planned CS is a safe option for some women.

To be honest, incontinence, prolapse and severe tearing aren't really worst case outcomes. Approximately 9% of women have third or fourth degree tears (source RCOG), on an average 14% women have assisted births, about 35% of women develop serious incontinence after a VB. I couldn't manage to find any stats on the incidence of a prolapse, but I know it's much lower than a c section. None of the above are very low percentages.

Birth injuries to babies aren't as uncommon as one would like to imagine. In my family alone there are about 8 babies who suffered brachial plexus nerve damage sad

Don't take this the wrong way, but most women with several smooth VBs find it difficult to comprehend that it isn't quite as smooth for everyone;)
Just like you don't get why I'd opt for a c section, I don't get how you could possibly have babies at home! However, I celebrate these differences among women and wish there was more acceptancesad

SkinnyGirlBethany Sat 19-Nov-11 06:02:56

To be honest I've had 2 dd's vb- quick labours and minimal tearing. Girls were/ are v healthy. After reading your post your making me fear child birth and im not even preg yet or ttc.

Yes there r risks either way, also c sections cost so much money and in my mind if I didn't need one I would worry about delaying an emergency or taking valuable resources from babies who need it.

I really hope that your post doesn't scare preg people with planned vb as unrational fear may be contagious

pinkytheshrunkenhead Sat 19-Nov-11 06:24:22

35% of women seriously incontinent after vb? really? really?

It is ok for you to have an opinion, you can keep researching it all you like nad find all the stats you like. I disagree with you and I think you are wrong.

FWIW I have worked for a long time on a labour ward. It is clear tpo me that you would not attempt to vb, that is fine but really I think what you are quoting is inflammatory and quite scary for others.

It is ok for you to decide to have a cs but starting a thread to try and alarm people into agreeing with you is not really that helpful is it?

8 babies who suffered brachial plexus nerve damage - really 8? I am very old and do not know anyone whos baby has had this happen. My stats are of course as valid as yours because it is anecdotal - again a difference in experience.

Please for goodness sakes do talk to someone about this so you can weigh up the risks and get it in proportion.

pinkytheshrunkenhead Sat 19-Nov-11 06:25:47

Have you actually ever had a baby OP?

DuelingFanio Sat 19-Nov-11 06:26:07

"most women with several smooth VBs find it difficult to comprehend that it isn't quite as smooth for everyone"

I think this part of your post is true.

azazello Sat 19-Nov-11 06:30:47

I've never heard of judgyness about people who have had cs when it is medically required except for those people who thought they would orgasm through a hypno-labour and find it isn't like that and they are disappointed with themselves.

There is a problem with perception of cs for people who do not need one for medical reasons but because they want to dictate the day of birth or have a tummy tuck at the same time. Those people do exist although not in such numbers as the DM would have people believe. THey are also more expensive for the NHS on a population wide basis,

Personally, I had two lovely unassisted VBs with my 2 DCs in birth centres and wouldn't have changed it for the world but my SIL had 2 cs (1 emcs, the other elcs) and feels just as postive about her birth experience.

Squiglettsmummy2bx Sat 19-Nov-11 06:33:40

I'm pregnant with dc 3 & will be having an elcs, I have heard from friends how unnatural & medical it is. How I am not giving birth. How I must feel I have failed as a women by never having a natural delivery.
My first dc will be 9 in 2 weeks, I went into labour with her a few days after her due date. After 52 hours & 19 mins of labour I was rushed to theatre for an emcs as her heart rate had been lost & I was only 4cm dilated. Thankfully she was born blue but was & is perfect in every way. My aunt had the same experience when I was 11 with her 1st dc & hers ended differently. The image of my cousins tiny White coffin will always haunt me. Without a cs my daughter would definitely have died. So yes I was in pain afterwards but for the sake of my daughter being alive I would have cut off my limbs. When I fell pregnant with my ds I asked what the chances of this happening again were & no one could tell me anything other than it could so I opted for an elcs. The epidural didn't work as it was in the wrong part of my back & I had to be put to sleep as I could feel them cutting me open. It was agony & traumatic but ds was & is also perfect. This time, after 2 cs, I have opted for an elcs although there was no discussion of vbac anyway. I just want my baby alive & how he gets out is irrelevant to me as long as we are both ok afterwards & I don't see why I am being made to feel less of a women for that. Would I have done better to refuse my 1st cs & waited for 10cm to naturally deliver a dead baby? Would I get my real mum badge then? If so they can stick it & I will keep my healthy child instead.
Yes some women choose cs for daft reasons but for some of us it is necessary for a healthy baby or to remain healthy ourselves & rather than negative comments a little bit of understanding would be nice.
Sorry this turned into a massive rant but I have had so much negativity & downright bitchiness over my choices it felt good to let it all out.

pinkytheshrunkenhead Sat 19-Nov-11 06:38:31

Absolutely right Duelling Fanjo - and having been a round a lot of labouring women and their babies after I know that is true BUT that does not make the doom and gloom of the OP true either.

I know it is not always as smooth as it is for me. I know I have ot particulalry easy and recover quickly and well. MY third birth however dmamaged a nerve in my hip and made me a bit periodically limpy but not giving birth at home would not have changed this, (he had his hand above his head) - I guess that having an elective CS would have but who knows what could have happened there either.

All things in life have a risk attached but one has to base ones decisions on probability not possibility otherwise ending up a bloody basket case about something which may for may not hapoen is extremely likely!

pinkytheshrunkenhead Sat 19-Nov-11 06:42:22

But a CS is unatural and medicalised, by definition it is but that is not to say it is wrong in anyway and not making anyone a 'real mother' - that is just daft.

Clealry Squiglett you were failing to progress so yes of course something needs to be done. Anyone that makes a comment about it meaning that you have failed in some way is just an ignorant bastard but sensible people know it is the right thing to do.

CailinDana Sat 19-Nov-11 06:56:01

People will always find a way to judge you for something you do/don't do. IME if you're happy with your choice the judgement will flow off you and you'll hardly notice it, but if you're feeling a bit wobbly then the judgement will hurt as you'll take it to heart. If a cs is right for you then go for it and try to make your peace with it OP. Don't listen to idiots who see you as an easy target.

Wormshuffler Sat 19-Nov-11 07:05:04

I know what you mean OP I am so sick of people making the "oh your too posh to push" jibe. I had a EMCS with DD who did not descend, then tried for a VBAC which also ended up EMCS. Now PG with DC3 and ELCS is scheduled.

There is nothing in the world I would like more than to have a straight forward birth like my Dsil's who give birth like shelling peas.
I am TERRIFIED of the surgery and keep crying when I picture myself on the operating table.
Then there is the knowledge I am going to be in a ward possibly with people from Jeremy Kyles waiting room again, phones going off, no privacy, missing my DC's who will have to travel and hour each way to come and see me, unable to move...........

So to have to keep explaining to people that I am just not built for childbirth is making me fractious and clouding my excitement for the baby and really pissing me off!

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 19-Nov-11 07:17:05

Change your friends or perhaps look at the way you 'announce' your c/s.

I rarely hear anything judgemental about c/s. Ocassionally factual stuff but very very rarely judgemental stuff.

I have however, met women who whilst going through the process of coming to terms with it and the internal emptional conflict that can entail, imagine that others are judging them and deliberately look for it everywhere.

If you look enough you'll find someone who says something idiotic no doubt.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 19-Nov-11 07:17:47

And Dance, the VBs that we have in this country are very VERY far from 'natural'!

Rollersara Sat 19-Nov-11 07:33:37

I expected a planned c section due to my own health issues (complex neurological disorder), and initially midwife agreed. I was quite happy with that, had surgery before, all worked out fine. Then saw my specialist who pointed out that in reality a c section would make my health problems worse and should be avoided unless it was an emergency, particularly as I would have an extended recovery time and would be unable to care for baby during that time. So now I am trying to get my head round to the idea of a VB, and even though it shouldn't it does worry my more than the idea of a c section.

At the end of the day though it's all about what's best for the baby, so am placing my trust in the medical professionals to do the right thing to ensure first that baby is safe, and second, that I am fit to look after her and I don't give a shit who judges me!

DanceLikeTheWind Sat 19-Nov-11 07:36:20

The rate of urinary incontinence in women post partum after a spontaneous VB is 21% and after an instrumental VB is 36%.

Hope that clears things up for certain people.

Iggly Sat 19-Nov-11 07:37:11

Well OP I read your post as why would anyone have a VB when you could have x/y/z happen to you. Although the stats you quote show that the majority are fine.

I don't care what other women do until they inadvertently lass judgement about how I give birth.

charlie7 Sat 19-Nov-11 07:38:13

I am attempting to have my 3rd birth by ELCS, as my last VB was very traumatic to me mentally. My first wasn't so I know it's not necessarily 'me' but that certain VBs can be very difficult in many way. I have been very surprised to find all midwives i have seen (plus gp) being entirely behind me and agreeing with me, and as one has said recently : natural is NOT always best if it's no good for the mother- the fear of a birth can make the VB birth very difficult.
So far, most friends I have told have been either supportive or just not said much about it, and to be honest once the birth is over (however it happens) I think it becomes irrelevant how you actually did it.

These decisions should be made on individual cases I feel- everyone is different.

DanceLikeTheWind Sat 19-Nov-11 07:45:45

Yes, 8 babies in my family have had BPNI. Obviously, it's a high number, but it is what it is. If it scares or bothers someone, I can't change facts to suit them.

More links on incontinence

This article states that approximately 35% of women experienced incontinence at 3 months post partum.

DanceLikeTheWind Sat 19-Nov-11 07:50:33

I apologise if I have frightened anyone.

However, I would like to know why people are questioning me for posting the risks of a VB. I also mentioned several risks of a c section, but somehow that snt seen as scaremongering.

BOTH modes of delivery come with risks. I'm just wondering why we are only informed of the risks of a c section, whereas those of a VB are never mentioned.

Some of the replies have proved my point- women(particularly the ones who have had easy VBs) judge c sections.

meditrina Sat 19-Nov-11 07:51:47

In UK, up to now (and even now I'm not convinced the recommended changes to NICE guidelines have taken effect), you cannot "opt" for a C-section on the NHS.

The misuse of the term "elective" (widespread in the media, sadly) is the problem. No matter how often it is pointed out that it simoly means "medical need identified before the onset of labour", too often it's ported as "mother's choice". This is poor reporting, and sensationalises/polarises the issue unnecessarily and at the expense of these (non-existent) people who "just" choose.

By the time you're a mother, you will either know someone - or be that someone - whose would have died, or whose baby would have died without CS (transverse and some undeliverable breech presentation, placenta praevia, amongst many others). This however doesn't seem to feature in clearing to the (deliberate) misrepresentation of "elective" as "mother opts".

(PS: wouldn't be too sure about no incontinence after CS. Any operation which goes through lower abdominal muscles can cause it, as it changes the muscle tone in the whole area including pelvic floor).

DanceLikeTheWind Sat 19-Nov-11 07:57:08

Of course a c section is not a 100% protection against urinary incontinence!
However if you read the links I posted, you'll see that the incidence in c sections mums is significantly lower.

Oh and you can easily opt for a c section in the UK irrespective of the NICE guidelines- as long as you go private and pay for it yourself.

Iggly Sat 19-Nov-11 07:59:21

Because Dance all you had to say was, why do people judge me for having a c-section? Instead you immediately start justifying yourself, saying x/y/z about VBs. You haven't mentioned all risks of a c-section either. It just reads as if you think a c-section is better, end of.

You haven't scared me by the way. I read the stats the other way around. Also pregnancy will cause incontinence in some cases when older regardless of delivery.

And I didnt have a straight forward VB!

HeadsRollingInTheAisles Sat 19-Nov-11 08:00:40

I had an EMCS and struggled emotionally and physically with it.

Nobody has criticized me, I've been sensitive to a few birth stories of friends where they've had wonderful natural births but certainly nothing aimed at me.

In fact what's worse is trying to VBAC your subsequent babies in the way that feels natural to you and having to fight medical and well meaning family opposition.

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