By Dr. J. J. Gregor DC, DIBAK, DCCN
When we found out we were pregnant with our first child; we received lots and lots of advice. Some solicited, and well, for those who have had a baby, you know most of it is unsolicited. One thing we were told quite often was to opt for an elective c-section because it was so easy. It was an option that never sat well with us in the first place, and after more research, it became a decision we wanted to stay far, far away from.
C-sections are sometimes necessary, beneficial and life-saving. However, in today’s world where uncertainty is never welcome, more and more women are opting for the elective c-section. It allows them to schedule the exact day their baby will be welcomed into the world, and it cuts back on time ‘wasted’ in labor. Doctors also appreciate the elective c-section because it also sets their schedule. However, there are multiple risks to both mother and baby that you need to consider before jumping on the convenience bandwagon.
First, non-emergency scheduled c-sections have a three times higher incidence of maternal death when compared to a vaginal delivery1. What we fail to realize is that this isn’t a simple routine surgery with no risk. No, this is your abdomen getting cut open your uterus being pulled out and then your child is being removed.
Second, this is a MAJOR abdominal surgery, with a huge risk of post-operative infections1. Even if these infections don’t become life-threatening, about ⅓ of cesarean's have infections at the incision, the uterus, or UTI’s. This means cesarean mothers are five times more likely to be on antibiotics after delivery2, and up to 3 times more likely to have severe complications which can include heart attack and hysterectomy3. Also, women who have had planned c-sections are more likely to be re-hospitalized due to bowel problems, exhaustion, and lack of sleep for up to 4 years4.
Third, there are all the emotional aspects of the c-section childbirth and the consequences that aren’t always immediate. These can include a birth experience the mother is not satisfied with, less confidence with her baby, and a greater fear of giving birth, even up to five years later.
Additionally, it may be more difficult for the mother to get pregnant again, and if pregnancy occurs, there may be an increased risk of uterine rupture or breech presentation of the baby requiring another c-section.
So although an elective c-section might seem like the best option to accommodate our forever growing list of things to do. It may end up causing more problems, in the end, completely wiping any convenience it had initially.
Tomorrow, I’ll be talking about potential dangers to the baby that elective c-sections can cause.
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