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Be Informed! Or is ignorance bliss?

(58 Posts)
highlander Tue 09-Mar-04 16:27:32

As a first timer (well, at 35 I'm an old-timer as well, but that's another story), I've lost count of the number of web sites instructing me to be 'informed' about pregnancy.

However, I find that the information exposure raises my BP and leaves me so terrified and out of control that I immediately make a run for Hula Hoops and Snickers bars!

It particulary gets my goat when the advice proffered is a tad 'you SHOULD do this', or the information is very biased.

Examples:
1. Breastfeeding - like all new mums, I'd love to give this a go and I've found the web info very helpful for that crucial first 2 weeks when I would be likely to give up- Latching position, the fact that newborns don't need a lot in the first week, importance of professional BF support etc. However, I'm not going to beat myself up and subject myself to months of pain if I hate it/can't do it etc. I hate the way the info available akins bottles to infanticide!

2. Sections - I WANT a section. Despite the disadvantages,It's for me; it's my CHOICE. And yet I can't find a single bit of info on the web that supports me. All I can get are scary stories!

I could go on ............ but I'm seething again. Now, where's the choccy......

Twinkie Tue 09-Mar-04 16:31:11

1. Give it a try but you do it your way - you will probabl know what to do naturally.

2. I completely agree with all the scary stories - cannot (after having only natural childbirth) understand why anyone would want to go through a c-section - although this is completely your choice honey - which ever way you give birth you wil still have a wonderful perfect baby at the end.

udar Tue 09-Mar-04 16:32:32

The midwife at my antenatal class gave us a great piece of advice - take all the advice, use what you want from that advice, if that doesn't work use another piece. She said be thankful that there is lots of advice you can choose from.
I posted a positive birth stories thread under childbirth (can't do links) but there were a few people who had positive section stories.

dinosaur Tue 09-Mar-04 16:33:46

I don't think I dare mention the peanuts in Snickers bars...oh whoops, did it anyway...

CountessDracula Tue 09-Mar-04 16:36:36

2. here is some info on elective csections

nutcracker Tue 09-Mar-04 16:36:43

I think you have to decide which bits of info are the most imortant to you, and disregard the rest.
Just wanted to say, that i have had 3 sections, none of them through choice, and whilst they have all been fine, no probs at all, i would still have rather had 'normal' births.
At the end of the day though, it's your choice, and i don't blame you for going after what you want

spacemonkey Tue 09-Mar-04 16:39:08

There's no point in getting stressed about it. You want to breastfeed - IME it's not something you can particularly prepare for, apart from knowing where to get help and support I guess. I'd say just decide you'll give it your best shot - that's what I did anyway - and if for whatever reason it doesn't work out, don't beat yourself up over it.

Don't really understand your decision re: section - what is that based on if not medical advice? Don't mean to sound critical!

secur Tue 09-Mar-04 16:39:13

Message withdrawn

highlander Tue 09-Mar-04 16:44:35

aah, twinkie, that's my point. It seems that because you have a positive outcome at the end of it all (a baby) then any associated physical or emotional trauma is brushed under the carpet and not talked about.

My reason for not wanting a vaginal birth is that I personally regard any form of perineal damage unacceptable. I know many women disagree, and say that their choice is a vaginal birth and they thus accept the consequences/disadvantages. But when I try to discuss this, people brush me off with, 'it's not that bad' or 'it probably won't happen'.

Of course their are disadvantages to a section (plenty of scary stories) but I accept those. Prolonged immobility etc. But I'm very lucky that my husband will be on 2 months pat leave.

Hey dinosaur I know about the calorie count in peanuts, but they're soooooooooooo good. My sister says she just had to have one every day with ds and then tried to convince me that it was the testosterone forcing her to eat!

spacemonkey Tue 09-Mar-04 16:51:58

highlander, not sure what you're getting at in your first para - do you mean trauma from a vaginal delivery or C-section? i.e. only horror stories about sections abound but those about "normal" deliveries are swept under the carpet>?

dinosaur Tue 09-Mar-04 16:53:36

um...not the calorie count, the allergy risk? or is that advice old hat nowadays?

udar Tue 09-Mar-04 16:57:09

I haven't eaten a snickers bar my whole pregnancy and have certainly felt like it - I've been doing the no peanut thing as best I can.

I also feel the same way as you about breast feeding - will do my best (would like to do 6 months) but if it doesn't work out at least we have alternative options.

CountessDracula Tue 09-Mar-04 16:58:55

Not as far as I know dinosaur.

I must say that I feel that insufficient information is given about c-sections. For eg I wasn't told about the possibility of post partum haemorrage and nearly bled to death - would it have made any difference if I had known? Do you know about that possiblility, and the increased risk of blood clots etc.

I had an emergency section, would rather have had vaginal birth if possible but hey ho. A good friend of mine who is a doctor had an elective caesarean, she just knew from the beginning that it was the only option for her and she was very happy with her choice.

hercules Tue 09-Mar-04 17:03:45

Re the peanuts - I ate e few pnt butter sandwiches when bf ds and he had anallergic reaction. Ended up taking him privatly to a specialist and it turned out he wasntallergic but yes eating them whilst pg or bf can cause the allergy. Imo it is not worth the risk no matter how preachy you may think the advice is. My db has the nut allergy and takes the necessary precautions but stll ends up being rushed to a & e several times.

I find a lot of advice not to my liking but that is because of the way I chose to parent. the advice I do not ignore though is the medical advice as this is far too important to be ignored. Following your own instincts is very important and having confidence as a mum is also.

Zerub Tue 09-Mar-04 17:14:29

Ignorance is bliss until it happens to you and then you wish you'd known enough to avoid it. But you can't know everything...

There are more scary stories about c-sections than about vaginal birth, because the chances of something scary happening are higher.

I know where you're coming from about perineal damage, but now that I've got a scar across my stomach I really wish I'd had the choice of risking my perineum! Also I have to say it took me longer than 2 months to recover from my cs: my friend and I who had sections were physically exhausted for a long time after the birth, when compared to friends who gave birth vaginally. Also dd is 22 months old and my scar still hurts quite often, which is normal for a cs scar but I think rare for a perineal one?

There is some positive stuff on the web on caesareans:
under articles, called A Positive Birth Experience

Planning a Good Caesarean

Its an emotive subject as there are such a lot of women out there who wish their births had been different!

Guess it was easier back when women in labour just did what their mothers told them... (Twiglett wouldn't agree )

dinosaur Tue 09-Mar-04 17:17:36

It is possible to give birth vaginally and not have any perineal damage - I didn't tear AT ALL during either of my deliveries. Do you know whether your mum needed stitches, my mum didn't need any (she had three kids) so I wonder if there's a hereditary element to it.

highlander Tue 09-Mar-04 17:36:25

that's an interesting point dinosaur. Funnily enough, my granny (mum's mum) had a 'bad birth' and was in hospital for nearly a month, but my mum won't say why. My mum tore with 4 of us, but not my sister, who was #2 and born at home. My MIL had 2 episiotimies as both kids have wide heads. DH can never get hats to fit him!

But then my sister only needed 1 internal stitch with #1 and nothing with #2. After #1, the midwife apparently said, 'I'm impressed you worked so hard, but next time take it easy with the pushing!'

I very much appreciate it's possible to give birth without damage, but I'm not taking the risk.

As regards to scar pain, my physio says to get the scar tissue broken down after a couple of months or it will hurt in the long term, in the same way as a torn muscle will feel 'niggly' if left untreated. I did ask her about perineal scar tissue treatment and she said 'no way!'

Also, post-op abdominal pain can occur through adhesions. This is a common occurence with ab surgery where the surgeon has an over-reliance on diathermy to control bleeding. Surgeons who don't use diathermy report less adhesions. This is anecdotal, but I think a study may be under way?

AussieSim Tue 09-Mar-04 18:16:05

Highlander, I know where you are coming from. I was 34 when I had my DS last year. I had a birth plan all drawn up and was very committed to it (more than I realised). I was scared stiff of needing a episiotomy (sp?). I was afraid they would throw a couple of stitches too many in and ruin my sex life, truth be known. Although I did want a vaginal if possible as I had no one to help me if I had a caesar (except for my MIL ...). I very nearly had a caesar as DS's head was positioned so that it wasn't coming down, the doctor shifted it thankfully. But I did have an episiotmy as they didn't want me pushing too hard on his little premmie head. It turned out not to be a big deal at all for me - healed fast and well and didn't cause any kinks in my sex life - not that being a new mum doesn't do enough damage in that department. The rest of my birth plan went out the window too due to DS's prematurity. As it was I had to wait 2 days to room in with DS, but if I'd had a Ceasar it would have been much longer. I was so grateful that I didn't have one.

I guess all I want to say is that it is better not to get too many fixed ideas in your head about childbirth. Books and info are just no substitute for good medical advice taking into account the individual circumstances of the birth AND actually having experienced childbirth before. There is no point working yourself up over stuff in advance - you may only cause yourself and your baby more problems. You could always begin by seeing how the labour would progress naturally and if it is not to your liking then switch to caesar.

I hope that you are not seething reading this as I really wish someone had talked to me about it before hand and I really do mean well.

eidsvold Tue 09-Mar-04 18:53:10

highlander I was 34 when my dd ( first one) was born. yes one midwife did call me a geriatric mother - not sure what I am this time - 2 years later...... I read up on what I wanted and didn't want.

For me - I did not want a c-section - I ended up having an emergency one - short version - went in at 38 weeks for a scan - 1 hour later having a c-section.... ( for dd's benefit - she needed to be born that day) She needed to be born - nop oint in mourning a natural birth - my daughter arrived alive...... the outcome was the important thing to me

As she was in scbu and so on and was unable to breast feed ( due to heart condition ) she was tube fed for eight weeks and then bottle fed - no problem with the fact that I did not breastfeed - again - like you said - no point in putting yourself through a lot of stress and upset if it doesn't work.


I realised early on that I did not fit the norm and decided that I had to do what was best not only for dd but also for me..... I did some reading and a little listening to medical staff and then decided what is best for me.

I am now pregnant again and due to my antenatal history had a GP shoving all sorts of tests at me - I told him to stop - mid sentence... that I was well aware what was available and what medical opinion would be regarding testing for me and that I did not want it. He then told me I needed to prepare for eventualities.....

the irony is that he is saying this to me whilst my dd ( who was born with a serious heart defect and needed corrective surgery as well as downs syndrome) is sitting in the room. I had told him that we knew antenatally about these conditions and yet you can clearly see that she was born anyway - so why waste resources testing me for things that are not going to make a difference.

Sorry for the ramble - but I can appreciate where you are coming from.....

at the end of the day - you decide what is best for you and your child.

As long as you know where to access information and support that is appropriate for you - no problem....

tomkitty Tue 09-Mar-04 19:07:42

I find the books upsetting too, Highlander. I have three, all given to me. They seem to be either patronising and full of 'tude or rather shallow where people take very strong views about medical issues they are sort of educated about. I have decided to read only the foetal development sections until I am about 35 weeks or so.

My mother went under GA and woke up with her baby, delivered vaginally somehow. I asked my consultant if I could do it that way and he thought I was joking. I was, er, sort of.

tomkitty Tue 09-Mar-04 19:08:26

Forgot to say that I am 42 and expecting my first.

aloha Tue 09-Mar-04 19:20:26

I had a section due to placenta praevia. It was a great experience and I'd certainly want a section if I do it again. I wasn't immobilised - four days in hospital, came back home at the weekend and dh went back to work on Monday - no problems at all. Drove a week after that (wasn't organised enough to get out of the house before then!). A lovely, serene delivery and no complications. Even Michel Odent, the natural birth guru who believes in water and darkness etc accepts that c-sections are not more risky than vaginal births. They may even be safer for babies. You can have a post partum haemmorrage with a vaginal birth too. And I don't have a scar on my stomach, I have a very small scar buried in my pubic hair where it causes me no trauma (or pain or other sensation) whatsoever - and I have a 'bad' scar. My friend's c-section scar is literally invisible. I'm a big fan of sections! The web may not be the place to go for info on this.
However, I think breastfeeding is great!
The information is there if you want it - there's no need to get annoyed by it. Nobody's forcing you into anything.
Congratulations TomKitty - did you know that Geena Davis had her first at 46 and is expecting twins at 48?
And you aren't old. I had ds at 38.

stace Tue 09-Mar-04 19:32:30

hi highlander, in my experience first time round i was neurotic and completely prepared 34 year old read everything etc etc, what a load of c*** when it comes down to it. after certain complications i was preped twice for a c section but just managed to push him out vaginally at the last hurdle. My best friend however had a c section and had always said that she felt she had missed out. I have to say that i a great sense of achievement for getting through it. I ripped, it repaired and i was still up and running far quicker than any of my friends with a c section. By the way during the labour i begged for a section but im now expecting my second in August and would really really like to do it vaginally again. I really want to be in control of my own and my kids lives as soon as poss after.
As far as b/fing goes again dont beat yourself up give it a go and if its not working give it up.
I think the best words said to me were. I did 3 miserable week and would put myself through that much again

A HEALTHY MUM IS A HEALTHY BABY AND A HAPPY MUM IS A HAPPY BABY!

Chin up and keep talking about your worries as we are all here to try and make it easier.

tomkitty Tue 09-Mar-04 19:36:50

Aloha, what a nice story! I have heard that C-section scars usually leave overhanging flaps of skin. Were you really lucky or is that just a myth?

I knew Geena D had a baby a few years back, bless her, but I didn't know she was pregnant again. My SIL who is 43 just announced that she is pg too. We are a family of late bloomers.

Croak Tue 09-Mar-04 23:43:20

I had a c section and certainly don't have any overhanging flaps of skin either - my tummy is pretty much as before apart from my tummy button's a bit flat now. I've heard (well actually only read on the internet - its not really the first thing you ask someone is it ) about it happening a lot though and tbh, as a bit of a vain one, find the thought pretty horrible.Am therefore a bit paranoid about it happening if there is (and I hope there will be) a next time - I know its pretty unimportant in the great scheme of things though.
Like Eidsvold I reallly didn't want a section and was planning as natural a birth as I could handle but had to have one in the end because of horribly high blood pressure. I would never recommend anyone to have one because of the objectively greater chance of dying (the bottom line for me really) but have to say that my experience was as far the removed from the scare stories as its possible to imagine. If my judgement was just based on the experience I had (op and recovery very very easy - can't imagine it could have possibly been more painful than a natural birth) I would choose a section again. However the risks involved and especially the implications for future fertility and possible births mean I'd still have preferred to go the natural route if it had been possible.
Think that reading either scare stories or the numerous accounts of how great it is to have a natural birth in your own caravan in rural Idaho attended only by wild dogs (well not quite )that you find on the internet did me no good at all. In any future pregnancy i think I'll just try to go with the flow and use the time saved to eat chocolate (dairy milk not snickers though as I'm a worry wart who blindly follows all the advice) and mumsnet

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