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To ask what the truth is about elective C Sections?

179 replies

Moomin8 · 04/12/2019 19:13

I'm not thinking of asking for one myself but I wondered what people's rights actually are because certainly it is not clear (perhaps intentionally)

My friend has a 6 month old ds and she had quite severe tokophobia. It's so bad for her that she can't even cope with smears or internal exams and needs medication to cope with these. So she had requested a section from quite early on, she told me. Apparently her midwives were in support of this but when she got to see the consultant at 36 weeks, her attitude was very unpleasant. She told my friend that tokophobia doesn't actually exist and got really shirty about my friend wanting a section.

My friend stood her ground and the section went ahead fine but she was upset about the consultant's approach. Her midwife told her that the doctor may have been trying to put her off because of cost of a section.

Does anyone know what the facts about this are?

OP posts:
Wholewheelofbrie · 05/12/2019 12:14

As per @Venger and @Piglet89 I had an elective (sufferer from severe pre-natal anxiety and depression after lots of losses and was terrified of not having control of I went into labour naturally after a friend had this happen and ended up having a still birth)

Consultant didn’t seem to care either way she was cold AF but quite happy to sign it off. I had the maternity units well-being nurse there advocating for me as well as my peri-natal mental health team had written to her.

Wholewheelofbrie · 05/12/2019 12:17

@EleanorShellstrop100 🤦🏼‍♀️ It’s not more risky c-sections are a safer method of delivery for the baby most certainly and for the mother where a spinal rather than GA is used.

Haworthia · 05/12/2019 12:23

Personally having had a vaginal birth and a c section, I would 100% tell any pregnant woman to go for the section.

Me too. I think elective section is arguably the safest option for mother and baby.

Everyone sucks their teeth about the risks of c sections. “Major abdominal surgery... I’d do anything to avoid one”.

What no one mentions is the risks of vaginal births. The botched labours and inductions. The instrumental deliveries. The tears and the prolapses which, we now realise, can’t even necessarily be fixed surgically (I’m thinking about the vaginal mesh scandal, and all the women left butchered, in contingent and in chronic pain).

We even have adverts telling us that pissing yourself is normal and hilarious and you just need to wear Tena pads.

Everyone talks about the cost of c sections, and how we have a moral duty to save the NHS money. Well, does anyone count the cost of lifelong pelvic floor damage? How many women choose to suffer in silence, even?

Wholewheelofbrie · 05/12/2019 12:24

@EleanorShellstrop100 where are you getting your info from? I don’t know anyone whose had lasting damage from a section me included - 4 of us had a section from my NCT group and all fine.

Yes you do take longer to recover but I think you’re exaggerating, I’m a drama queen and it really wasn’t that bad.

I know plenty of women whose vaginas have been left hanging inside out, one with incontinence, and two who’ve had to have two separate surgeries to repair the damage done after a natural delivery though!

neonglow · 05/12/2019 12:26

@Doccc why do so many obstetricians choose to have ‘non-medical’ c-sections themselves?

According to the Adam Kay book it was ‘60% of female obstetricians’ choose to have a planned c-section for non-medical reasons.

PeggySuehadababy · 05/12/2019 12:26

Whether it's easy to get one or not depends on the hospital, and the consultant you speak to. Mind you, even when you ask for an elective after you had an emergency one the first time around they will try and convince you to have VBAC a go.

PeggySuehadababy · 05/12/2019 12:27

*Give VBAC a go

Wholewheelofbrie · 05/12/2019 12:28

@Haworthia yes this exactly!!!!! Because we’re shamed into not talking about it and now have brands trying to normalise pissing yourself. Everyone thinks you just swan out of the maternity unit, maybe have to sit on a cushion for a week or so then everything is just fine and dandy! This do isn’t the case!

Doccc · 05/12/2019 12:31

Doctors just don’t like doing things they don’t think are necessary. First do no harm and all that.

PeggySuehadababy · 05/12/2019 12:32

@EleanorShellstrop100 an elective c section is universe away from an emergency one. It would be nice being informed of risks of vaginal birth as well, which is almost never done.

A friend of mine ended up with a bad tear and incontinence and is battling to have it sorted on the NHS, as some doctors she met are terribly dismissive.

The consultant I met to sign my elective didn't mention and risks of VBAC and just went on discussing the risks of a c section. He even refused to acknowledge the eventuality of a scar rupture.

SweetAsSpice · 05/12/2019 12:40

Cost plus safety.

But also, for practical reasons after too. I haven’t given birth naturally so can’t comment on the recovery from that. I had an EMCS then an ELCS, and recovery is quite intense. It’s major surgery, then you have a newborn to look after. You never get to properly rest and recover like you would after any other major surgery.

Almost everyone I’ve known to have a cesarian has picked up a complication, whether it be an infection when the wound was closing, keloid scarring, numbness etc. The midwife left a stitch in my scar. That was a fun discovery several weeks later Envy

Appletreehouse · 05/12/2019 12:46

I chose elective section with my second in 2017 after a forceps delivery with the aforementioned keilland forceps with episiotomy and 3rd degree tear, all after an induction at 40+14. I was in agony for months, the first month I barely remember as I was so traumatised and it was weeks before I could sit on a normal chair rather than a ring cushion.

I asked at my booking in appointment with the midwife to be referred to the consultant and saw a doctor after my 16 week scan, she was quite snippy and eye rolling but didn't have much choice.

I had been having counselling already for the previous birth, had done my research and was polite but firm that I wanted the section. He signed it off no problem, then I could focus on enjoying the rest of my pregnancy.

No regrets, my recovery was sore from my section and I still get a bit of pain in my scar but it was the best choice for me

Appletreehouse · 05/12/2019 12:48

*the midwife was snippy I mean, the doctor who signed me off was lovely

RogGestYeGerryMentlemen · 05/12/2019 12:49

I had two planned sections, the first one because the baby was breech, the second because I refused to vbac. There is a big gap between my children, and in the meantime I developed some (unrelated to childbirth or pregnancy) gynae issues which, from doing my own research and hearing plenty of anecdotes, I found could seriously hinder my chances of successfully vbac. When I asked the midwives about this, they brushed me off without properly hearing my concerns. I decided there and then that if they weren't prepared to spend ten minutes discussing my concerns when I was pregnant, I wasn't going to trust them to listen to me when I was giving birth. They also insisted that all women having a vbac would have a trace on and would have to get on their backs in the good old legs akimbo pose. I have issues regarding being on my back and immobile resulting from an assault years ago. So all in all, I decided to cut my losses and go for a section. Never once have I regretted it. In an ideal world, I would have had two straightforward births instead, but as my pregnancy progressed, I felt the chances of that were vanishingly slim

hazeyjane · 05/12/2019 12:52

@Wholewheelofbrie, I am not really a drama queen either, and I'm not sure if you read my post about my ELCS. It has most definitely left me with long lasting issues, and I know of others on here and in real life who also had traumatic ELCS.

It isnt great to minimise anyone else's birth experience and outcome tbh, and that, along with acknowledging that ANY birth can have long lasting consequences, is surely one of the ways we can improve the attitude towards and outcomes for women giving birth, whichever method they choose.

Moomin8 · 05/12/2019 12:57

So, is it generally the case that c sections are safer for mother and baby in all situations, or is it dependent entirely on the individual circumstances?

Why do the NHS tell you that vaginal births are safer? Are baby's born by C section really more likely to have breathing problems?

OP posts:
riotlady · 05/12/2019 12:59

My personal preference would be uncomplicated vaginal birth > ELCS > complicated vaginal birth/induction > labouring then needing an EMCS

I would have loved to have a nice vaginal birth in a birthing pool but our local hospital statistics showed that not very many women get that at all. ELCS might be more risky than a straight forward VB, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll actually get a straight forward VB. I would hedge my bets and go for the ELCS every time.

@SweetAsSpice I have some numbness around my c section scar but have never really thought of it as a side effect. It’s not something I ever notice unless I deliberately go looking for it. Certainly not something I’d consider on a par with incontinence or anything like that.

hazeyjane · 05/12/2019 13:02

When ds was in NICU, several of the other babies were in for breathing difficulties. Ds's consultant said that there were always some babies who would be in either NICU or SCBU due to breathing problems, from not having been squeezed through the birth canal, she said it was more common in babies born by ELCS as, even if they were term, labour hadn't occurred to 'gear the baby up (!) for birth.

hazeyjane · 05/12/2019 13:04


In that list...uncomplicated vaginal birth > ELCS > complicated vaginal birth/induction > labouring then needing an EMCS.... you didn't include 'complicated/ difficult ELCS'.

Teachermaths · 05/12/2019 13:13

Individual circumstances make a difference. We are all unique. Statistical population outcomes can give you an idea of risk but the statistics are rarely broken down enough to see an individual or even small group risk.

I really don't want another section. I had a horrific EMCS with long term consequences. I find it difficult when reading about people who loved their section. I hated mine. However I am one woman in a long list of women who had a C section. Just becuase something happened to me doesn't mean it will happen to someone else.

Astrabees · 05/12/2019 13:17

I always fee a bit sad that because women don't get the support and attention they need to have an uncomplicated first birth they are more likely to opt for and need a c section second time around. I had a very long labour with a large first baby, but with expert attention from one midwife throughout and the consultant all went well and they advised me to have no 2 at home. ( easy peasy) . I'm very frightened of operations and injections and any surgical interventions so my panic would be to avoid surgery at all cost. i did have a tear and stitches but have had no lasting problems as I have religiously done pelvic floor exercises 3 x a day for many years.

Moomin8 · 05/12/2019 13:29

I always fee a bit sad that because women don't get the support and attention they need to have an uncomplicated first birth they are more likely to opt for and need a c section second time around.*

I think you've hit the nail on the head, here. After all the trouble I had with my episiotomy, I tried to speak to HCPs about the pain I was in trying to have sex with my (then) husband. I was told that it was all psychological.

So yeah, at that point I did feel an elective section would be my only chance of not making the damage worse. In my case, it worked out differently in the end but the pain caused by the stitches was real.

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CookPassBabtridge · 05/12/2019 13:30

I had my two children with maternal request section. I have a fear of birth and examinations and they were fine about it. I honestly think when you book in with a midwife, they should ask "would you prefer vaginal or section?" and note your request, and give you info of pros and cons of both. It should be seen as a normal way of getting baby out.
Every day I'm happy I had sections especially reading the threads about birth injuries.

riotlady · 05/12/2019 13:38

@hazeyjane you’re right, I honestly hadn’t thought of it as I have only generally heard of women having problems post ELCS (infection etc) rather than during. I don’t know the statistics on how common it is?

neonglow · 05/12/2019 13:56

@Astrabees yep I read the main reason women have a maternal request section is birth trauma from a previous birth. I think if some hospitals really aren’t in favour of women choosing c-section then they really need to look at WHY those women ended up so traumatised that they feel it’s their only good option, and working to improve that rather than just telling patients ‘No.’

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