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which is 'better' - elective or emergency C section?

(19 Posts)
arolf Wed 26-Aug-09 14:30:16

this is all hypothetical, but my baby seems to be breech at the moment (36+3), so I'm getting a scan sometime soon.

Anyway, from what I've read, natural breech birth is entirely possible so long as baby is frank breech - so if other things (such as ECV/optimal foetal positioning) don't get him into position, my plan would be to go for natural breech birth.

However, I have read a couple of times that the chances of an emergency C section and other complications are really high with breech births, and I've also heard that emergency C sections are utterly grim to recover from. If this is the case, and the hospital offers me a scheduled C section (which I've been told they are likely to), I'm thinking it might be best to go with that.

So, I guess my question is this:
which is best/easiest to recover from, from your experiences - natural breech birth (with high risk but no guarantee of emcs); elective cs; or emcs in general?


sausagetits Wed 26-Aug-09 14:35:10

Gosh, I can't comment on EMCS or vaginal breech births but breech DS was born by elective CS after failed ECV.

I have to say that it was a very serene and easy experience for me and my recovery was way quicker than the after I had DD (non breech) vaginally.

I figured that I wanted to pre-empt any of the panic which might ensue with an EMCS and I have to say I don't regret my decision for one minute.

Disclaimer. This is totally my own opinion!

Dophus Wed 26-Aug-09 14:41:42

I went for a trial of labour with breeched DS1 - after about 12hours and failure to progress I had an emergency CS.

It is described as an emergency but only in that it wasn't planned. It was probably about an hour following the decsision to proceed to a CS.

It was calm and serene and no panic at all. I had a VBAc with no2 which wasn't the greatest expereince either.

If a VD is important to you I would recommend you go for a trial of labour but take their advice if they reccommend going into theatre. You will have to meet their prgression criterion (ie.e 1 cm an hour) etc etc.

I found nothing but support from all midwices doctors involved in my decision to aim for a VD. I got unnecessarily hung up on a sense of failure which I just can't relate to now. BE open minded whatever you choose to do

Disclaimer. This is totally my own opinion! smile

MissisBoot Wed 26-Aug-09 14:42:12

I had an EMCS following failed induction and other issues.

Recovery was fairly easy - in fact the only pain I had was from the staples that they used to stitch me up - I was on morphine for 2 nights and something else, but once home it was painfree. With hindsight I wished I'd been offered an elective section as having had the emcs I'd already gone through a day or so of labour so was exhausted both emotionally and physically and probably struggled to cope initially with dd - I probably would have struggled to cope regardless of how dd arrived tbh though!

If I was in your position I would go for an elective.

Dophus Wed 26-Aug-09 14:43:26

Is this your first child? If not your chances of a successful VD are much higher than if it is your first.

arolf Wed 26-Aug-09 14:49:53

this is my first - thanks for the opinions! you've all basically confirmed what I had thought - elective CS for breech baby is probably better! my DP is worried about it all too, but willing to support whatever decision I make - and my parents are starting to say 'ooh, too posh to push?' which is incredibly helpful of them...

I'll see what happens at the scan, and what the doctors/midwives recommend anyway.


bigstripeytiger Wed 26-Aug-09 15:03:03

I would generally try to avoid a C Section. I have had 2, and would generally think that a vaginal delivery would be better. If I was having a breech baby though I would opt for a C Section.

cheesesarnie Wed 26-Aug-09 15:10:55

i had one emcs under ga and 2 planned.all different.dd was the emcs and although groggy and in pain for however long afterwards(as youd expect)both myself and dd were fine.
ds1 was planned cs a year later and all went well,recovered quickly,both fine.
ds2 was planned cs and they tore my bladder during surgery,luckily ok now but had to have a bag for 10 days.ds2 was poorly and up and down to scbu and having lumbar puncture etc.

so id say although i cant help on vaginal birth,my experiences of cs is that they are all completly different and that planned doesnt mean straight forward and easy.

tethersend Thu 27-Aug-09 16:53:41

I had an elcs for a breech baby, and wholeheartedly recommend it- for me it was about knowing the risks, whereas a vaginal birth felt like an unknown risk; could be easy, could end very badly; a cs felt like a calculated risk, and one that I was willing to take. I also felt more comfortable with specialists on hand (ie, in theatre).

Before I get jumped on with statistics, I have to say that this was just my own perception of the risks- it felt right to go for elcs.

I do not feel as though I missed out on labour etc- actually can't believe I've got a baby and don't know what a labour pain feels like!

At the end of the day, it's your choice- nobody can make you have the baby in a way you don't want to.

LolaLadybird Fri 28-Aug-09 13:21:04

I had em-cs for DD who was undiagnosed breech. I found the whole thing fairly traumatic but they didn't discover she was breech until I was fully dilated and then there was quite a panic getting me in to theatre before I felt the need to push. It took me a while to recover both emotionally and physically and I found it hard to bond with DD to start with but that may have happened anyway regardless of the type of birth - who knows?

DS was el-cs a couple of years later (on consultant's advice despite planning a VBAC) and the whole thing was a v calm, civilsed, enjoyable experience. The contrast was huge and I recovered much, much quicker.

Obviously only you can know how you really feel but if I'd have known DD was breeach, I'd have gone with the el-cs.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

MrsMattie Fri 28-Aug-09 14:40:31

I've had both. The physical recovery from both was fairly similar. Emotionally, I felt much better after the elective as I knew it was coming and was able to prepare for it.

arolf Fri 28-Aug-09 14:50:31

thanks everyone - have got a date for the scan, when I'll be 38+1 weeks, so hopefully baby knows this and will stay put until a decision needs to be made

and tethersend - that's pretty much how I see it - no statistics, just gut feeling that if he is breech, I'd probably be better off with a C-section. I know breech births are possible, but it worries me more than a CS would for some reason.

tethersend Fri 28-Aug-09 22:51:27

Good luck with everything smile

PinkyRed Fri 28-Aug-09 22:59:50

I've had an emergency cs and an elective cs and I definitely recovered more quickly from the elective. Easier all round, as I felt much more in control and wasn't knackered from 14 hour labour.

Having said that, I'm really glad I laboured in my first birth - I would have always wondered if I had gone for an elective first time round.

Meglet Fri 28-Aug-09 22:59:54

I've had an em cs with my first child and el cs with my second, the el cs was pretty easy to recover from. However both operating theatre experiences were fine smile. But the tiredness and pain I went through in labour before I even got to the operating theatre for my em cs made recovery hard.

With an el cs you can arrange extra help in advance and know exactly what you're letting yourself in for.

paisleyleaf Fri 28-Aug-09 23:03:31

I've never had an emergency c-section
but did have an elective.
I was well prepared for it (well, as prepared as you can be I guess)
and recovered quickly.

Hannahsian Mon 31-Aug-09 22:00:00

I had an emergency C section for my DD as she was an undiagnosed breech (only found out in labour at the hospital). Looking back in hindsight it was definitely the best thing for us. Everyone is different, but my baby has a bad hip (shallow joint) from being positioned wrong in the womb and after many trips up to Birmingham childrens hosp I have found out a VB would have made this far worse. I guess my view is that a VB is quicker to recover from for the mother, but you also have to way up the risks to the child. There can be complications to the baby if born VB breeched. Although it took me a while to recover (I was stuck in bed for two weeks), it was ok. I could breastfeed - don't be put off doing this if people tell you its hard after a C-section. If you want to do it, you will manage. I would like another child and will be having an elective C section as I have to medically anyway. It will be easier this way as avoiding going into labour means you are not as tired - you will be tired enough having to be up all night with a newborn, without the extra tirdness of having been through labour too! It is a difficult decision and what is right for one person isn't necessarily for another. I hope this helps a bit! smile

onefunkymama Mon 31-Aug-09 22:08:26

I had Elective CS for breech and then an emergency CS for DS. I'd quit while you're ahead and book a CS if advised. Elective was much better than amergency (where I was told my baby had less than 5 minutes to live and was rushed into theatre with no notice at all.)

Birth is tough whichever way you do it but I wouldn't suggest a breech delivery- you could harm your baby- lifelong, and which ever way you do it birth only lasts a day or so at the max.

5inthebed Mon 31-Aug-09 22:19:39

I've had both. DS1 was EMCS and DS2+3 were ELCS. The ELCS were definitely easier than the emergency one, and I recovered quicker, didn't feel so tired etc. Never had a natural delivery so can't comment on that I'm affraid.

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