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Elective section vs natural birth

(18 Posts)
ItsThisOneThing Mon 06-Feb-17 05:53:46

Looking for advice on the best option for my second child's birth.

First labour felt quite traumatic - 40 hours long, ended up completely exhausted by the time it came to push. Don't remember the pain as they'd recommended an epidural by this point plus I'd had other drugs too so ended up being repeatedly sick everywhere. Despite me pushing as hard as I could, baby wasn't moving. Eventually they had to use foreceps, and he came out on the 3rd attempt (rule is a max of 3 attempts and then they have to give you a section). I hated the idea of foreceps and kept just asking them to give me a section instead. Foreceps felt brutal & he was really badly bruised. After the birth they said after this birth if you decided to have a section with your next child that would be supported.

Roll on 3 years and I'm pregnant again. I requested a section with my midwife so am now discussing that option with the consultant. Ultimately it's my decision (in Scotland it's the patient's choice, not sure about elsewhere) but the consultant is rightly making me aware of the risks & trying to encourage me to have a natural birth. My last birth was at a different health authority so he's not seen my notes yet - he's going to request those and hopefully have them to discuss for my next appointment this week.

I'm so torn. I swing between wanting a section and then a natural birth (keep hearing how second deliveries are often easier). I know logically all the reasons to try for a natural birth (section recovery time, scar, risk of major surgery, unable to lift my toddler etc) but psychologically I'm struggling to get past the fear of the unknown/unpredictability of a natural birth. It could go well but equally could end up feeling uncontrolled and scary like the last time. I keep coming back to wanting the predictability/control of a section.

I've had advice from friends but it's all been conflicting so was wondering if anyone has been in a similar position that could offer advice?

Thanks so much

brightnearly Mon 06-Feb-17 06:06:05

I was offered the option of an elective c-section after an emergency one during the first labour - and also quite strongly encouraged by the midwives to try a vbac.

I had a hard time deciding, but then went for the elective. I had a much, much easier recovery than after the emergency one, and the risk thst comes with having an operation seemed smaller (by far) to me than the risks that come with a stuck baby (infection, trauma, lCk of oxygen problems etc).

Haven't regretted my elective at all!

brightnearly Mon 06-Feb-17 06:06:41

*lack of oxygen

toopeoply Mon 06-Feb-17 06:07:13

Didn't want to read and run, my first birth was similar to yours, although quicker. Had epidural and ended up with forceps, not pleasant to say the least. Had to have emergency section with number 2, so didn't have the control you want (although really, how much control do you have, other than a fixed date of delivery). I would choose a natural birth, over a section 100 %. No question. Afterwards, with your baby, I found it so much better, calmer, more lucid. I went on to have number 3 quickly and easily naturally, and then number 4 by emergency section under GA again. If it's possible, I'd choose natural birth. If I were you I'd get an appt specifically to talk about your first birth, and your fears. This will hopefully reassure you for number 2.

Booboostwo Mon 06-Feb-17 06:10:15

It's a very individual decision. I chose a CS both times because of the risks of a VB when it goes wrong. The vast majority of VBs are unproblematic but when they encounter problems these tend to be significant. CS has risks but, in my estimation, tend to be less significant. I would ask the consultant to explain the risks of foreceps and complications due to lack of oxygen during a VB. These are scary discussions but I don't think it is possible to make an informed choice if one is only given the risks of one option.

hazeyjane Mon 06-Feb-17 06:30:48

It is really hard, I had an elective with number 3 and ds and I had a really hard time. The out of control feeling and fact I felt so unprepared for how awful it was, was one if the reason I felt so bad afterwards. But I have had friends and there are lots on here who had wonderful electives, just as there are lots who have had great and awful vaginal births.

I'm sorry that is probably not much help!

DorotheaHomeAlone Mon 06-Feb-17 07:09:00

I had an emcs the first time and an elective the second. I had a horrible time with my first but forceps was my big fear so I was relatively glad to get the cs. I recovered really easily and had no problems at all so opted for an elective second time around. Was even easier and was back looking after my toddler 10 days later. It's a very personal choice but cs isn't always difficult or traumatic.

FutureMrsRanj Mon 06-Feb-17 07:11:19

I had a similar first birth to you, have you had a debrief? My second birth was much easier and quicker, no while I'm sure recovery from an elective section is much easier than recovery from emergency surgery, I would suggest that recovery from a nvd is so much better, especially with a three year old to care for.

FutureMrsRanj Mon 06-Feb-17 07:12:36

*and while, not no while

Ellieboolou27 Mon 06-Feb-17 07:16:03

Elective section all the way recovery is much quicker too

DuckWaddle Mon 06-Feb-17 07:22:07

I had a bad first birth and went with an elective CS the second time. It was a much better experience and the healing was so much better than with my first.

doubletrouble41 Mon 06-Feb-17 07:27:50

I had a wonderful elective as one of my twins was breech. I had a VB with my first child and tore, and I found the healing after the ECS was quicker and I felt generally better all round. Go with your own feelings. I'm a big believer in Mums instinct x

ItsThisOneThing Mon 06-Feb-17 08:15:50

Thank you so much for all sharing your experiences! I totally agree it's such a personal decision and can really polarise opinion.

Bright - that's what I keep coming back to - that the risks of a section are potentially less dangerous than those of a VB. Or at least those risks can be managed in a more controlled environment!

Toopeoply - thanks, I've got an appointment with the consultant this week to discuss so will chat it all through then smile

Booboostwo - that is a great point, and I'll ask that at my appointment. There was no mention of the risks of the other delivery types so you're right in saying I came away from that first meeting with a fairly one-sided view.

Hazey - thanks, it's amazing how different everyone's experience is!

Dorothea - I could be totally wrong on this but I have a gut feeling I'd recover quite well from a section. I tend to heal fairly well. Although I also thought I'd labour well too and that didn't turn out so well!

Futuremrsranj - I can't remember a formal debrief. The consultant came round the next day and was quite apologetic at the bruising on his face. It wasn't her fault obviously, just the nature of foreceps. But when I think about complications we could have had from foreceps it makes me shudder. The main midwife looking after me after the birth was a bit of a horror, no empathy whatsoever. She asked how it had gone & i said 'a bit traumatic in the end' and she said 'but you had an epidural' and pretty much shot me down in flames for how I felt about it (ended up leaving the hospital in tears because of her but I'm sure my hormones played their part!). So didn't feel like I had much support post-birth for discussing it.

Ellie, Duck, double - reassuring to hear thank you smile I also had an episiotomy first time round so was walking like a cowboy for at least a couple of weeks so not sure a section will be much worse than that!

FutureMrsRanj Tue 07-Feb-17 07:18:30

I would speak with your midwife, firstly I would tell her about your experience of the midwife and consultant being dismissive before. I would also suggest looking into statistics at your local hospital to get an idea of their intervention rates be remember that forceps are used in sections too. It's not an easy decision, the most important thing is that you are relaxed and confident in the system

pinguina16 Tue 07-Feb-17 09:32:54

Ideally how many children would you like?
Some of the risks of c-section have to do with future pregnancies so if you only want one more I'd give a c-section serious consideration.

Also from talking to many other women I've concluded that the narrative people have about their family is often more important than anything else (ie if someone imagined 3 children and stop at 2 for whatever reason, they really mourn the loss of the third child or someone wanted no more than a 2 year gap between their children and again for whatever reason it doesn't happen that way, there's a period of mourning of that idea). So knowing what the "narrative" of your family unit is should really be taken into consideration.

SpookyPotato Tue 07-Feb-17 14:58:47

Section all the way! I loved not going through the unpredictability of birth and the healing was fine. Yes it's painful for a week or two after but it's predictable pain that you can manage in the comfort of your own home.

savagehk Tue 07-Feb-17 15:05:46

I think that now that you've already had one vaginal birth (even though it was assisted) it's more likely your second birth will go smoother as everything is already stretched. My first labour was similar to yours except I only had G&A until the end (when they used forceps and I had an epidural). I think once you've seen your notes you may have a clearer idea what happened in your case. In mine, baby was the wrong way around (OP) and that led to the problems it seems. (might add that the forceps, in my case, resulted in no issues at all - I did tear, but was sewn up well and have had no problems; and my son wasn't bruised either).

I'm going to go for hypnobirthing classes this time, which I hope will help the labour go a bit smoother.

ItsThisOneThing Wed 08-Feb-17 18:11:40

Thanks all, really appreciate it. This is our second and last so no worries about future pregnancies. I'm still leaning towards section - just a gut feeling that's what's right for me this time. I understand the rationale that it should be easier this time around but I'm so anxious about anything going wrong and dread the throught of foreceps again. I'm sure I'll change my mind another 20 times before my due date!

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