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I had an elective cesarean by my own request. AMA

80 replies

MrSpock · 23/07/2018 15:14

I chose to give birth by elective cesarean purely as a personal choice and my for any physical heath reasons. I know this is a bit controversial so happy to answer any genuine questions both from people who are curious, and anyone who wants any advice about doing this themselves.

OP posts:
elliejjtiny · 24/07/2018 09:28

I'm glad you got the birth that you wanted and it went smoothly. I've heard a lot of people say they chose c-section to feel more in control but when I had my 2 c-sections (one elective and one emergency) I've never felt less in control in my life. I much preferred my vb's and felt much more in control then. The feeling of being paralysed by the spinal and then covered with sheets so I couldn't see my lower half really freaked me out. It made me feel like they could do anything to me and I wouldn't know. Also with my elective they changed the date twice and the time multiple times which also made me feel less in control. Did that side of things worry you? Can you explain why you felt a c-section would make you feel more in control? Just curious as that wasn't the case for me.

MrSpock · 24/07/2018 09:34

Did that side of things worry you? Can you explain why you felt a c-section would make you feel more in control? Just curious as that wasn't the case for me.

I wasn’t worried about the date changing, because I knew it would be roughly that date rather than having no idea with a natural birth.

As for the control element. I was able to be of sound mind due to not being in pain and therefore was able to make myself heard, and I knew the process. I knew what was going on because I researched cesareans.

A vaginal birth to me would have involved being in pain so that would have impaired my ability to think rationally, and I had no control over what actually happens in it. It’s all luck. A cesarean is pretty much one procedure.

My mother worked for the NHS and performed surgery, so I grew up in a family where surgery was quite normal. In fact she used to love talking about the mechanics of it, so I don’t find operations particularly worrisome.

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darceybussell · 24/07/2018 09:44

MrSpock - the consultant was telling me I needed forceps and I asked if I could have a c section instead, but she said the baby was too low down in the birth canal for a section. So then I was really frightened and was asking her if I would be incontinent and how long the episiotomy would take to heal. She was trying to reassure me but it's all very well them telling you it will be fine - They do this every day, I had never done it before and was terrified!

MrSpock · 24/07/2018 09:49

They do this every day, I had never done it before

I think medical professionals forget that what’s routine to them is terrifying to someone else.

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WonkyWay · 24/07/2018 10:01

Do you feel guilty about the extra cost to the NHS? I haven't looked up the latest figures but I think cesareans are two or three times the cost? (I'm going from memory so not sure)

Do you think it should be a choice for all women?

Bowlofbabelfish · 24/07/2018 10:05

The long term average extra cost of a c section to the NHS is £87.

This has been costed out by NICE themselves, and takes into account the percentage of women who will attempt VB, require EMCS, repair and long term follow up for things like psychological damage, prolapse, surgical repair etc.

MrSpock · 24/07/2018 10:19


No because as someone else stated, when taken into account what can go wrong with a natural delivery, it’s not actually much more to have a cesarean. I also think I would’ve used more resources if I’d ended up traumatised.

Yes, I do. I think it’s as much a choice as choosing to give birth in a pool.

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SinkGirl · 24/07/2018 10:34

And that’s not factoring in the predictability of elective sections and how that impacts staffing needs.

MingeUterusMingeMingeYoni · 24/07/2018 11:09

Why would she feel guilty about the extra cost to the NHS when ELCS isn't any more expensive factoring in the long term costs of dealing with VB?

WonkyWay · 24/07/2018 12:13

Why would she feel guilty about the extra cost to the NHS when ELCS isn't any more expensive factoring in the long term costs of dealing with VB?

Lol, well I did say I was going from memory and that I wasn't sure. 😋

I'm surprised they are the same cost.

Ilikesweetpeas · 24/07/2018 12:24

Another person here who had an elective c section. Several reasons in my case- my mum had an emergency section with me and I grew up hearing her (very dramatic) birth stories, I work with children who have severe cerebral palsy, many of whom suffered oxygen deprevation at birth and my DC was conceived after many rounds of ivf. I was firmly convinced that as my body couldn’t conceive naturally it couldn't give birth either (I know this is wrong but it’s how I felt). I was fortunate to have a lovely consultant who listened to me, and supported my choice. I had a few midwifes along the way who were not supportive and who made me feel stupid. I don't regret my decision at all, for me it was the right birth experience with a straightforward recovery.

Bowlofbabelfish · 24/07/2018 12:55

wonky I was too - it’s funny how that’s a message that’s not really been made public isn't it? :/

bobsandvagene · 24/07/2018 16:04

It's a widespread myth that going for an elective section costs the NHS soo much more than attempting a VB.

A lot of people seem to forget that going for an elective c-section is the only reliable way to avoid an emergency c-section. It's ridiculous when women are shown statistics that include emergency c-sections to try and put them off going for an elective.

enbh · 24/07/2018 16:06

Oh my word, I had a CS and would never choose it, the recovery time is such a killer!

How did you find the recovery? Would you ever consider a VBAC? It's what I hope for if I am lucky enough to have another child!

MrSpock · 24/07/2018 16:24

enbh I found it fine, I didn’t find it very painful and felt normal at 6 days post birth. I don’t drive so can’t speak about that but I was able to do everything else.

I don’t want a VBAC, I’m currently having twins and so want another cesarean.

OP posts:
Fatted · 24/07/2018 16:27

I had 2 sections. First was an emergency. Second was elective, although I ended up having him earlier than planned due to complications.

Having been through the fiasco of being admitted with pre-eclampsia and over due, being induced, being in unbearable pain for hours because the contractions were too strong on the hormone drip, my baby being in distress because of the contractions and his position, being up all night and then still having to have a section at the end of it all, I WILL always choose a c-section!

The physical recovery of both was nothing compared to the PTSD I experienced after having my first!

bobsandvagene · 24/07/2018 16:37

I think for women requesting a CS it's often about what they're choosing not to have rather than wanting to have abdominal surgery. They're choosing to not have an emergency c-section, to not have a forceps birth, to not have a 3rd or 4th degree tear.

I was granted an ELCS for my second baby but decided to go for a VB in the end but I can totally understand why a woman would choose an CS. Tbh I don't understand why it's so controversial, it should be a choice for everyone.

soberexpat · 24/07/2018 16:45

Hello OP. I had an ELCS out of persona l choice too, for very similar reasons.

The chances of having a birth free from intervention (forceps, venteuse or episiotomy) are only 1 in 3...not risks I was prepared to take.

I also have numerous friends who had horrendous births and years later are still traumatised an in pain. A few have had to have surgery following.

I loved my ELCS and am delighted with my choice. It was calm, planned, exactly as I’d wanted.

Thank you for telling your story, it’s good to know there are more of us out there!

MrSpock · 24/07/2018 16:49

soberexpat glad yours went well! I think there’s a lot more people who would either choose a cesarean if they could or who have done this but don’t tell anyone.

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MingeUterusMingeMingeYoni · 24/07/2018 23:11

The costs are because the really expensive births stem from attempted VB. If you have an ELCS, you aren't having an EMCS or an instrumental birth. They both cost more on average than ELCS. VB also increases the risk of prolapse, which the NHS then has to treat down the line.

It's true that uncomplicated VB is much cheapest for the NHS initially, notwithstanding the prolapses later on, but attempting a VB doesn't mean you get that!

MrSpock · 25/07/2018 07:08

Yes, people forget that a vaginal birth doesn’t necessarily mean a calm, easy birth and that it can be quite expensive and difficult.

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User5trillion · 25/07/2018 07:18

I had an ELCS and it was brilliant. The recovery was only a few days and I still managed to bf, after a lot of pumping. First time round I had a massive baby and emergency cs, which was awful. A big op after inducement, hours of labour and a very distressed baby (nicu for 9 days). The 2nd time around it was much more straight forwards and enjoyable and I got to choose my babies birthday, within a 3 day window.

birdybirdbird · 25/07/2018 10:16

@MrSpock thank you so much for this thread! My ELCS was agreed last week and I've been feeling a bit strange ever since so it's great to read through yours and other responses. I'm having mine for some mental health type reasons - there is no way I would cope with the unpredictability of a vaginal birth, a sense of being in control is hugely important to me.
I wonder though of you (or anyone else), ever felt quite lonely in their choice? None of my close friends have children yet so there's no-one to chat to there; my NCT group are all eye-rolly about bloody epidurals so I don't exactly feel comfortable telling them about my choices and work colleagues have all had vaginal births. I suddenly feel a bit out of the 'birth club' if that makes sense? There's no one who can really share my specific concerns and I guess it makes me feel a bit isolated.

Bowlofbabelfish · 25/07/2018 10:22

Your NCT group are eye rolling now because they’ve not given birth yet.

Statistically a few of them will have fabulously nice water births to whale music, a few will have interventions and a couple will have cs.

birdybirdbird · 25/07/2018 10:30

@Bowlofbabelfish I may have muttered "Bet they're begging for bloody drugs when they're trying to push a bowling ball out of their foof" to my husband Grin

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