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Advantages and disadvantages of a c-section

(68 Posts)
Gangle Sun 05-Aug-07 12:54:30

Sorry to open up a controversial and over argued debate but I've just found out I'm pregnant and know for sure that I want a c-section. Just wanted to hear the positives and negatives for those who have been through the experience, particularly in terms of recovery times and scarring.

ratfly Sun 05-Aug-07 13:50:46

I also knew for sure that I wanted a section! But I ended up going naturally at first anyway and ended with an emergency section - just what I was scared of all long

My recovery was great - there are loads of threads about recovering from sections on this forum already, so there should be loads of info there for you. I think the biggest disadvantage is not being able to drive, but I was driving in 2 weeks anyway. I think if you try to keep fit and supple during preganancy that really helps your recovery.

My biggest advice is to go to NCT ante natal classes. They gave me the knowledge and confidence to go for a natural birth even though I was terrified of it before hand.

Good luck

nooka Sun 05-Aug-07 19:20:45

I've had two, both emergency. It wasn't what I aimed for, and I would have preferred to have natural births. Main downside almost seven years after the second is that my scar still hurts when I sneeze. Main downside at the time for me was having to stay in hospital afterwards (post natal wards are not somewhere you want to stay any longer than you can possibly help), and then the pain for the next six weeks or so whilst the wound healed up. I am sure you will be aware that it is very hard (but not impossible) to arrange to have a c-section without good medical grounds, as there are higher risks associated with c-sections.

beansprout Sun 05-Aug-07 19:32:54

If this is your first pregnancy, it will be quite hard to convince them that you "need" major surgery rather than a natural birth.

Why do you want the section?

Klaw Sun 05-Aug-07 20:07:04

The first section impacts on all future pregnancies creating greater risks to mother and baby that rise with each subsequent section.

Psychologically it might prove useful to go over and explore your fears with someone to be very sure that this is the righ path for you.

A great site worth browsing is where you should be able to do some good research and be sure of your options.

The ONLY positive I could reasonably give for an elCS is being able to plan the timing. Which is instantly negated, in my book, by the fact that you are not allowing baby to be born when it is ready, and risking so many things. You will endure MAJOR abdominal surgery with it's own risks but at least you will not be an emCS, which is definitely not nice. And the list of negatives is too long for me to post. But that's just my opinion.

I am a VBACer and as such I cannot comprehend a CS for no medical reason, but I do accept that there may be valid psychological reasons, which is why I suggest that you get support for that in the meantime and then plan for the right birth for YOU, nobody else!

Best of luck with your pg and your ultimate Birth choice.

macmama73 Sun 05-Aug-07 20:34:15

My first child was born naturally and, although long, it was a wonderful experience and one that I am very glad that I had.

My second child was born by emergency section. The difference was incredible. After the first birth, I was up and about within hours of the birth. I was able to lift DD out of the crib and feed her, and within a few days I went home.

After the CS I could not sit or stand up unaided, had lots of pain and was very low because I couldn't even lift DS out of the crib. I was in hospital for 5 days (don't know if that is more or less than in UK, I live in Germany). I found it difficult to get out of bed for the first week or so. I do have to admit that I was quite overweight and unfit at the time so perhaps that made a difference too.

I do have 2 close friends who raved about their CS, one said she was able to get up unaided less than 24hrs after the op. Both of them recovered much quicker than I did. They both had planned CS so I think that had a lot to do with it.

On the plus side, the bleeding after the birth was a lot less after the CS and the pelvic floor muscles weren't so damaged, so at least I could sneeze without wetting my pants!

The scar looked nasty at first, I was quite upset when I saw it. My Gynie said that the Dr in the hospital didn't do a good job. For a long time I was numb around about the scar. Now, 3 years later, the scar is barely noticible and I have no problems at all there.

Here in Germany, most hospitals will do a CS if the patient wants one, don't know what it is like in UK.

Good luck

moljam Sun 05-Aug-07 20:36:35

why do you want one?ive had 3 but not through choice.

ELLIELULU Sun 05-Aug-07 21:03:42

I had a CS with my first 13 1/2 yrs ago as she was a bottom breach and decided she wanted to staywere she was so they didnt attempt to move her. it was good as you knew when it would happen, but your limited after, lifting,vaccuming driving (check with insurers on this as if you drive before agreed your ins is invalid)etc. Recovery not to bad just bad back ache as the painkillers i was given made me feel invincible but after a while got used to it kept being told to take it easy in for 5 days, had to beg for midwifes to take some staples out as i was walking like an old dear at most.(body realises foreign body shouldnt be there) 2nd Preg last year "natural birth" as told by Gyne Cons to old at 37 then to recover informed i would be having "normal" delivery, but kept monitered througout, which was a pain in case my scar split,(yes even that many years difference). Personal Choice Section good as you know when but recovery very long, Natural okay as up and about pretty quick but you just dont know. Thinking back glad i did natural but its caused a few probs since, but then ive suffered with back probs since section as i had spinal block and have needed physio on and off for 13 yrs. Like others have said you have to have really valid reason for wanting it. As i had, had CS first time round and i was allowed to have/request it 2nd time round even i didnt get it. They quoted as my 1st Preg was non medical ie bottom breach, not detriment to my health or babies, and my hipscore after this showed i was big enough to deliver normally next time this is what they chose for me. Each time though it knackers up your muscles and they only allow so many deliveries through original CS scar. Good Luck

uberalicelongbottom Sun 05-Aug-07 21:10:48

I had a normal birth first time round, followed by an elective C-S second time. I had a bad tear the first time, and was quite sure that I couldn't go through with it again, hence the elective. Having said that, I would never recommend a C-S as the easy option. It's major surgery, slow and painful recovery, and your tummy will never look the same again. In fact, everything that macmama73 said.

TuttiFrutti Sun 05-Aug-07 21:46:50


Can plan timing (very useful if you have childcare to arrange)
No pain at all at the time
Quick (30 minutes, not 30 hours!)
Pelvic floor muscles left intact
No vaginal tearing
No problems with sex afterwards
No incontinence


It is major abdominal surgery
Recovery time is longer
Have to stay in hospital longer (usually about 3 days)
Tummy will be sore for days or weeks afterwards
More risks for mother and baby than in an uncomplicated vaginal birth - although often less risks than in the type of vaginal birth the c-section mother might have had

It varies so much from woman to woman, and depends so much on the medical team you have on the day, that things like recovery times are a "how long is a piece of string" question. Electives are nearly always better than emergencies though. I've had both and my elective c-s was fantastic compared to the emergency one.

orangehead Sun 05-Aug-07 21:59:00

Babies are more likely to have breathing probs after section, in normal birth baby is squeezed through birth canal and this helps the baby bring up any fluid they have swallowed, section babies dont have this so more likely to be born with fluid in lungs which can cause breathing probs. I had a emergency section with 1st, my stomach is a complete mess, still numb 5 yrs on the skin is all dead loose and all flabby which hangs down over scar. Doc has told me no amount of excerising will help the only thing that will help is a tummy tuck which I would have if I had the money. This did lead to a huge prob with loss of confidence. Yes a setion can be planned and keep your pelvic floor intact I dont feel that you can minimize that its major surgery with risks. Apparently woman who have sections can have more difficulty breastfeeding, but I didnt have that prob

southeastastra Sun 05-Aug-07 22:00:16

don't have a c section unless you really have to. stomach muscles get totally ruined

pucca Sun 05-Aug-07 22:06:54

Put it this way....

With my dd (1st) i had a natural, was in labour for 28 hrs, pushing for an hour and tore right through my bum (3rd degree tear)was incontinent (poo) for the best part of a year, couldn't have sex for a year.

With my ds, i had a section, i went with what my consultant advised, and it was horrific! horrible, horrible horrible! felt like i was going to die when i got out of bed for the first time, tooks AGES to recover, then i got infections inside and out.

I much preferred the natural with dd tbh.

macmama73 Sun 05-Aug-07 22:33:56

hmmm, Pucca, don't really think you are a good advert for childbirth.

You poor thing, you were really unlucky. Hope you are fully recovered now.

pucca Sun 05-Aug-07 22:49:57

Macmama...Yes fully recovered now, thank god! don't think i will go for a 3rd actually

Was terrible being pg with ds too, as ended up almost fully incontinent (both) because of the weight of him, i was HUGE! he was born early (actually went into labour but still had the section of course) at 38 weeks weighing 9lb 6oz, plus i had extra fluid, think it wrecked my pelvic floor again!

eidsvold Sun 05-Aug-07 22:55:18

i have had three - one emergency and two electives. Whilst I can't comment on a vaginal birth - all my c-sections were very positive experiences.

Yes there is the recovery time to take into account afterwards BUT i was driving within 3weeks of my two electives - only cause I knew about getting signed off - would probably have done the same with the first had I known.

Stayed in 5 days with first two - was home in 1 1/2 days after the third. My second and third babies were fine and breastfed quite easily - especially dd3.

For me the emergency was a matter of getting my dd1 out before she died and so there was a lot of emotional stress etc and I still recovered very well.

As to lifting post c-section - again - out of necessity I was lifting 12kg dd1 who has sn within three weeks of having my second section. Simply because she was not walking.

I have been lucky enough to recover very well within quite a quick time.

I know others have horror stories about c-sections but I haven't had that experience.

Dd1 was born at 38 weeks, dd2 at 41+3 weeks and dd3 at 39 weeks. I am sure getting them to let me go as long as I could with dd2 and 3 also made a difference to their condition.

TheQueenOfQuotes Sun 05-Aug-07 23:01:50

I had a CS with DS1 - (looking back totally uncalled for but they convinced me he was "in distress"........4hrs later - still not actually in labour - although my waters had gone the day before - I finally had the operation. Couldn't laugh, cough, hold my baby, get in and out of bed, carry heavy (or even 'medium weight') things for weeks, scar got infected, pretty horrible

DS2 was a VBAC, induced, failed pain relief, ventouse delivery, episiotomy and 3rd degree tear.......all in all pretty awful. However, I was able to do all of the things I coudln't do after having DS1....although I did spend one night in hospital.

BUT - I opted for another vaginal (shan't call DS2's a "natural" as it wasn't LOL) with DS3 and it was fabulous, still buzzing now and he's nearly 11 weeks old . 3 1/2hrs from me getting to the hospital to him being in my arms, gas and air, only one internal (right at the start), only a small tear (now seems to be totally healed). Had him at 4.17pm - was home by 9.45 that night]

Caroline1852 Sun 05-Aug-07 23:51:33

I have just had c-section no. 3 for baby no. 4. I had a crash c - section for first, a successful(!) VBAC for second (mid cavity forceps after failed ventouse with a 3rd deg tear), elective c- section for third and elective c-section for fourth. The first crash c - section was by far the worst and such a shock to the system. I am now 3 weeks post c-section and I am still taking pain killers . The yukky VBAC was probably the best recovery time for me but my baby had a difficult journey and a very bruised head.

Luxmum Mon 06-Aug-07 08:14:51

I had a planned cs for my first birth, as there was a risk of toxoplasmosis, otherwise I would have tried for a natural birth. The op was great, took 20 minutes and didn't feel a thing. The next 6 weeks were horrific, i fainted from the pain when I tried to get out of bed afterwards (ie 4-5 days afterwards...) and was in hospital for 10 days - this is usualy here in Luxembourg and I had absolutely no complications, swelling, or infections. I just can't describe the pain, i never never never want to go through that again.. I couldnt do anything, lift anything, walk, even to the toilet for DAYS, I could just stagger all bent over, so needed lots of help with carrying and feeding my DS. I'm 34 weeks in to my second pregnancy, and am planning a VBAC. I bought hypnotherapy books (marie Mongan) and Natal Hypnobirthing cds, and they are FAB for getting you to calm don and realising how natural childbirth is, and how it shouldnt hurt too much. I strongly recomend you buy them, and address any fears you may have. CS is NOT the easy option AT ALL - even an elective one.

Oblomov Mon 06-Aug-07 08:22:54

I had to have a CS. I knew this from early pregnancy. I had a great elective CS. But I would not recommend it to anyone else over a natural birth. I had basically no pain, healed very well and was up and about and driving, having been signed off.
I believe the ease of my CS is rare.
No regrets at all.
But do not underestimate what major surgery a CS is.

eleusis Mon 06-Aug-07 08:26:41

I've had two sections. My scar is quite small and down low enough that no one will ever see it.

I found the recovery was much easier than most people suggest. It does hurt to use your stomach muscles (but it does not ruin your stomach muscles). So sitting up from lying on your back is pretty painful for a week or two. I could drive after a couple of weeks without any problem.

If your DH/P can take the two weeks off following the birth and assist with the lifting of the baby, carrying the groceries, cooking, etc. then you'll be fine.

I do know a couple of people who had c-sections with their first children as a matter of choice, and not medical necessity. So if that is what you want, it is possible but you will probably have to do a lot of convincing. Just depends on your consultant / hospital policy.

RedFraggle Mon 06-Aug-07 12:58:38

I had a crash section with my first baby and an elective with my second. the elective was much pleasanter! It is major surgery though and i would suggest asking for counselling to address why you feel you would like a section. I had counselling after my first baby and still decided on an elective section for my second child but at least I had an opportunity to work through my fears and feelings first.
After both section I was up and showering and walking the next day (rather hunched over at first though) and home within 3 days. It is hard but it is not that bad and painkillers are wonderful things. neither of my babies had any difficulties after birth, both scored 10 on the Agpar thingy. I breastfed both and didn't struggle with that, pillow over scar helps a lot. Oh and you can recover your tummy muscles and your flat tummy but it takes A LOT of work! I got rid of the overhang last time and I will do it again this time - running is the key here, In my expereince any way! (not sure if orangehead had had extra complications in her op as I was never told that I couldn't shift the flabby tum by anyone)

hayley2u Mon 06-Aug-07 13:10:24

can i ask a question about c sections. my partner is working away. and his job is allowing him to take a week off. butif i do have my c section i am worrying as i'll be i hospital for about 3 days. he thinks maybe he should take the week off when i' m out of hospital.but surely ill need him in the hospital too. does any one have any advice for me pretty confused.

hayley2u Mon 06-Aug-07 13:12:14

can i ask a question about c sections. my partner is working away. and his job is allowing him to take a week off. butif i do have my c section i am worrying as i'll be i hospital for about 3 days. he thinks maybe he should take the week off when i' m out of hospital.but surely ill need him in the hospital too. does any one have any advice for me pretty confused.

chocchipmuffin Mon 06-Aug-07 13:13:09

Hayley - obviously while you are at the hospital, the midwives etc will support you but you just might also want dh to be around in those first, few special days. You will need all the help you can get at home when you get back though, so if it really comes down to a choice, I would say have him for a week at home and he can visit you when you are in hospital.

Why won't they allow him 2 weeks off? I thought paternity leave entitlement was for 2 weeks?

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