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C-Sections Aplenty!

A somewhat interesting trend, cesarean sections now account for 25 – 30% of all live births in the United States, according to some studies. But what does that mean to you as a mom?

Advantages of Elective Cesarean

  • Shortens the length or eliminates labor or labor pains.
  • Works very well in removing your baby from the womb fast if his heart rate plunges. The option of performing an emergency c-section significantly decreases the chances of death or brain damage to your baby when they are in trouble during labor.
  • Eliminates the risk of episiotomy or the use of forceps/vacuum.
  • Is a viable option for delivering a baby that may be too big for your pelvis or that is breach.
  • If you are given the option, you can plan your baby’s birthday by scheduling your c-section for a particular date (around your due date).
  • You will not have to deal with being overdue, if you are able to schedule your cesarean.
  • Depending on the circumstances of your labor, it may be the safest option for delivery of your baby

Disadvantages of Elective Cesarean

  • Expensive! Even if you have medical insurance, most insurance programs only cover a certain percentage of hospital costs. When you get a cesarean, you will probably increase your hospital bill by $15,000 - $25,000 (before insurance). Most likely, you will be required to pay some portion of this.
  • Some risk to mom. Having a c-section IS surgery. There is always some risk in surgery, especially when anesthesia is used. There is also a risk of hemorrhage and hysterectomy, although very small.
  • Bonding with your baby is not immediate. Usually, when you have a cesarean, they will give you one quick glance of your baby before they take her away and get her stimulated and cleaned up. (Ask your doctor what the policy is at the hospital for keeping baby with mom) Then, it takes 30-60 minutes to sew you back up and wheel you over to Recovery. You are then in Recovery for another 30-60 minutes before they take you to your room. Only then are you able to hold your baby.
  • Anti-climatic. A woman most looks forward to the moment they can finally see and hold their baby straight from the womb. This climax of the labor process is much less dramatic with a c-section, although you will still, most likely, get to hear her first cry.
  • Longer recovery time. Cesarean wounds can often take weeks to heal. You can’t lift anything heavy (including a car seat with your baby) for 3-4 weeks, and your abdomen will be extremely tender for a couple of months.
  • Scarring. This is a disadvantage, but quite minimal now. The OB usually makes the incision right at your pubic hairline, and you will hardly notice it several months later. It takes longer for your abdominals to strengthen and recover.
  • Emotional baggage. Many women that planned to have their baby vaginally experience extreme disappointment and a sense of failure when they must resort to cesarean. Other women think a c-section is the best thing since sliced bread. Remember that you are no less a mom if you have a c-section than if you had a vaginal birth. We are all in the same boat together.

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