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Hypothetical: which is less traumatic for the baby, a CS or vaginal birth?

(32 Posts)
Holtby Wed 13-Feb-13 16:19:39

We're TTC and I'm musing on this question because I have a blood disorder which any baby is likely to inherit. It will need transfusions and various other interventions when it's still very small. I don't have any particularly strong feelings about the birth itself but see it as a means to a healthy end. I want the baby to 'save its strength' if that doesn't sound too silly - which is likely to be the better way?

NeverQuiteSure Wed 13-Feb-13 16:26:28

I think that an unassisted vaginal birth is considered best for baby as no drugs passing across the placenta into baby's blood stream and the mucus in baby's lungs gets naturally squeezed out as it passes through the birth canal.

I would guess that next best is CS, followed by an instrumental vaginal birth.

I would imagine there are lots of grey areas between them all. Most babies in economically more developed countries are born safe and well regardless of the specifics of how they get there.

Good luck with TTC

MammaCici Thu 14-Feb-13 09:04:24

Another thing to consider is how quickly you can nurse your baby. If you have a c-section you may not have the opportunity for several hours. This separation is distressing for a newborn as they are hardwired to seek out a nipple to latch on to. It's worth asking that question to your caregiver. There is also the issue of fluid in the lungs not being eliminated during a c-section.
That said, sometimes the pros of c-section outweigh the cons. I think you should ask your caregiver lots of questions and make an informed choice for your own circumstances. Wishing you the best of luck.

MyDarlingClementine Thu 14-Feb-13 10:17:36

"If you have a c-section you may not have the opportunity for several hours"

Ooh, why is that? Most people I know except after an EMC when one lady was put under - all could nurse very shortly with no problems at all. As I did.

My baby came out screaming and had no lung probs at all. NOt saying babies dont come out with breathing issues but its not guaranteed that they will.

13Iggis Thu 14-Feb-13 10:21:23

I have bf both my babies within 20 mins of delivery (ie once in recovery room). While being stitched up I was holding baby, or dp was next to me, no separation involved at all.

showtunesgirl Thu 14-Feb-13 10:23:51

I had an EMC and as soon as I was sewn up, DD was put straight on the boob to nurse.

targaryen24 Thu 14-Feb-13 10:24:47

I spent an hour with my DS stuck in the birth canal. An eventual episiotomy and half an hour later the poor thing was finally born. Safe to say he got pretty worked up (as did I, which didn't help) so I think it varies widely!

If you have a normal vaginal birth obviously that's the best outcome for all smile

(not everyone's that lucky grin )

ShowOfHands Thu 14-Feb-13 10:26:16

I bf both dc within minutes following emcs.

Is it also worth considering which method of birth is better for you?

Eskino Thu 14-Feb-13 10:32:27

Had ELCS a few weeks ago. Fed new dd in recovery room skin to skin less than an hour later.

I always think (personal opinion alert!) the babies born by c-section look SO much more serene and calm than babies born vaginally.

targaryen24 Thu 14-Feb-13 10:49:25

Agree with that Eskino
Poor DS looked like he'd been slapped a few times sad
But he was 9lb 4 despite being a first baby, so no one expected it to be such a difficult delivery. Am allowed an ELC if I ever have another as a result.

Hopefully things are better for OP smile

MammaCici Thu 14-Feb-13 10:56:22

There is a different forum I use for English speaking mums in Sweden. There is a thread about how mums planned their second births after a traumatic first birth experience. Unfortunately it can be traumatic whichever birth method you choose. One CS mum said that after a brief moment with baby on her chest she was put into a recovery room for a couple of hours before being reunited with baby & DH. That was in the US. Maybe it depends on how straight forward the procedure went and the drugs used.
I have 2 sisters. One has had 4 CSs, all her children. None had breathing difficulties either. To be honest I'm not sure how soon she got to nurse them. 2 of her children weren't bf at all due to complications. My other sister had a vaginal birth with #1 and a scheduled CS with #2. She said #2 was far easier. However the nurse told her she needed to sleep and suggested taking her baby away for her to rest. My sister allowed this and she said her baby started to cry then and basically didn't stop for a year. She believes the separation traumatised her baby. Of course that could have happened after a vaginal birth also.
I'm just saying that being separated is something to be mindful of. Ask the questions up front. We all need to do what's best for our own particular set of circumstances. I myself am not ruling out a CS. For me it's preferable to episiotomy & forceps as I already have prolapse issues and don't want to risk further major injuries in that area. That said I really want to avoid CS. I live away from family and friends so besides DH, I won't have much help. I need to be able to pick up my toddler. Some mums can't even pick up their newborns after a CS.
It's never an easy decision.

MammaCici Thu 14-Feb-13 11:15:29

I just read some of the other replies that were posted while I was writing. It's great to see that separation isn't the norm. It was something I've been worried about myself.
I had 2 early m/c last year and as a result I haven't allowed myself plan too far ahead. I don't want to count my chickens. I'm almost 29 weeks and for the first time I'm really starting to think about the birth. I freaked myself out last night reading stuff. I think the important thing to remember is that most births go smoothly (enough) and babies arrive safely whichever method you choose up front.

mayhew Thu 14-Feb-13 12:38:23

OP once you are pregnant you can request to meet with a neonatologist in your unit to discuss birth options from the baby's point of view in relation to your medical condition. Try to do it after the 20 week scan. They might have a different perspective from the obs and mws. Their view is always influential.

atrcts Fri 15-Feb-13 09:56:01

I agree with the first post; a straightforward vaginal birth is the best way, followed by a CS.
The only problem is no one can predict whether you'd have a straightforward VB or whether you'd need episiotomy and forceps.

I am in a similar position to you in that I am considering ELCS for medical reasons. I didn't consider it in my first pregnancy because I naively assumed I would have a straightforward birth! If I knew then what I know now, I would have probably asked for an ELCS because getting over the forceps delivery took 2 year and not 6 weeks like a CS recovery.

It would be lovely to see the future to make the perfect decision, but there is no one on this planet who can say what sort of birth you'd have naturally. Good luck in your decision making. smile

LivingThings Fri 15-Feb-13 22:17:07

A straightforward ELCS is supposed to be safest for baby (but not mum). A straightforward VB slightly less so.

Ushy Sat 16-Feb-13 20:12:05

Livingthings Yes, that is what I understand as well. ELCS safest for the baby because although there is a slight increase in breathing difficulties (a normally mild condition) there is virtually no hypoxia (oxygen starvation) which can result in brain damage.

Obvious really - that is why when a baby is in distress, a c/s is required.

PeaceAndHope Sun 17-Feb-13 16:58:13

Planned c-section is safest for the baby. There is no question about it.

redwellybluewelly Mon 18-Feb-13 13:31:29

I have an ELCS booked for June due to a mismanged labour with DC1 which resulted in hypoxia causing brain damage and requiring putting baby in a coma while she was cooled. Was touch and go but she survived, albeit with health issues. I have weighed up all the risks and done a lot of reading - not an easy decision - ELCS seems safer for baby than a VB but riskier for mum.

Hypoxia can also be caused by a CS being done badly, sorry, and there is something called transient tachypnea of the newborn which is more common in CS's, prem births, low birth weight babies or very speedy vaginal deliveries.

Ushy my baby was in severe distress, no movement in 12 hours, thick mec waters when they were broken, post dates and yet the brilliant doctor decided to proceed with induction and refused requests for an EMCS. Which would have saved her. No matter what option you end up with always trust your instincts and never let anyone ignore you.

So it might be required but it doesn't mean you'll get it

PeaceAndHope Mon 18-Feb-13 13:50:06

Hypoxia cannot be caused by a planned cesarean. It may be recorded in cases which ended up with emergent cesareans but it was likely the labour that caused the distress not the CS itself. a 'badly' done cesarean is likely to happen in an emergency when lives are in immediate danger and they are just focused on getting the baby out.

Transient tachypnea is (as the name suggests) transient. It is usually resolved within a couple of days and doesn't cause long term damage.

redwellybluewelly Mon 18-Feb-13 13:52:45


I've a mum on my HIE group who has an HIE baby which was caused by baby getting stuck as the registrar panicked and didn't call for extra help during an ELECTIVE CAESARIAN - baby suffered HIE Grade 1, but I know this to be the case and baby was absolutely fine before delivery.

hazeyjane Mon 18-Feb-13 14:00:02

respiratory distress in babies born by elcs, can be serious, and traumatic.

blueberryupsidedown Mon 18-Feb-13 14:12:59

It's the million dollar question... Who knows? If you have a natural birth which is straight forward, no complication, then that is the safest option. I also think like someone mentioned earlier that the mucus in baby's lungs gets naturally squeezed out as it passes through the birth canal. But a planned natural delivery doesn't mean it's going to happen that way. It would be great to have a cristal ball but nobody has. I planned two natural births and had two emergency c sections, for completely different reasons.

redwellybluewelly Mon 18-Feb-13 14:29:48

I agree blueberry that who really know - but Peace piece about catalytically stating my knowledge to be untrue is fairly inflammatory - having had a look at her previous posts its seems that she has some form to um er being anti CS

Good luck OP - I didn't want an ELCS either but I've been convinced that complications are rare, to deny they exist however is less than truthful.

Nicknamegrief Mon 18-Feb-13 14:49:12

There are no absolutes in my opinion when it comes to birth and delivery. It is all down to individuals, their history and how delivery and birth are managed. Everyone's experience is different and you are far better getting the opinion from your midwife and consultant.

Atrcts, a section recovery does not take 6 weeks (sometimes shorter and sometimes much longer) and a forceps recovery does not typically take 2 years. My sister in law recovered from her forceps within two weeks, has had 3 children after this with very straightforward births and no continence problems. I have a friend who has to have surgery for a prolapse following a planned section for her first child (breech) as the weight of the baby was felt to have caused a prolapsed 10lb 7 at 37 weeks! She has had another child by planned section, another prolapse and serious continence issues. Of course she is unusual and very unlucky in my opinion. I wish you a better birth, whatever you choose this time- it does sound like your first was not a good experience,

I have had both EMCS x2, VBAC and ELCS. There are of course advantages and disadvantages to both but they are not always clear until you are at the end of your pregnancy or even until the point of delivery.

Good luck

Ushy Mon 18-Feb-13 14:53:28

blueberryupsidedown You are right but I guess that a planned vaginal birth includes four possible outcomes - a straight forward birth, birth with instruments, emcs or failed attempt at instrumental delivery followed by emcs.
ELCS usually results in an ELCS or a planned caesarean if the woman goes into labour before the elcs date.

Arithmetically, I understand this makes ELCS safer for the baby. (Possibly more minor problems but fewer serious ones such as hypoxia, erbs palsy and Cerebral palsy). Respiratory distress can be serious but it is hardly ever so in babies born at or after 39 weeks when most elcs are carried out.

So sorry, redwelly about what happened. sad There seems to be a big problem with the training of registrars and doctors in the NHS - the reluctance to carry out emcs when it is necessary seems to be target driven. So so sorry.

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