Faced with the decision to give birth by cesarean section, comments and opinions multiply, creating a tangle of ideas where it becomes impossible to distinguish the true from the false. Indeed, certain beliefs associated with this intervention are perpetuated over time, thus complicating the task of women when making a decision about their childbirth. To find out more, Dr. Karen Morton, gynecologist and obstetrician, tackles 7 cesarean myths in an article relayed by The Telegraph.
Unlike natural childbirth, cesarean section is a high delivery that is performed through an incision made in the abdomen or uterus. Source of many prejudices and misunderstandings, this procedure is for many a subject still misunderstood. In France, it would concern nearly 20% of deliveries and would be decided either during pregnancy according to the parents’ wishes or during childbirth when vaginal birth proves impossible or dangerous. This is when we speak of a scheduled cesarean section or emergency cesarean section.
In order to set the record straight and separate myth from reality, Dr Morton clarifies the following ideas:
1. You will not feel the extraction of the baby
Although it is not painful since it is often performed under anesthesia, the extraction of the baby is indeed felt by the mother during childbirth. Usually, the sensation occurs when pressure is exerted on the stomach and in the uterus. If the mother has an emergency cesarean, she is sure to feel the doctor’s intervention.
2. You won’t feel so close to your baby
It is often believed that the lack of skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby immediately after birth could damage the bond between them. Dr Morton believes it is important to qualify this idea, but she nevertheless points out that a cesarean section often requires complete rest for 48 hours after childbirth, which could delay contact between mother and child.
3. You will no longer be able to give birth vaginally after a cesarean section
Another myth, which could not be further from reality, the cesarean does not prevent a future vaginal birth. It all depends on your reasons for it, but this procedure does not require you to use it for all your pregnancies.
4. You don’t bleed as long after childbirth
For both forms of childbirth, the bleeding is generally similar. During the first week, they are red in color before turning pink or brown the following days. However, Dr Morton points out that any bleeding beyond 6 weeks would be unusual.
5. You will only have a small scar
It all depends on whether you consider a 10-12cm scar small! According to this doctor, there are many factors to consider, namely the person’s ability to heal and the condition of their skin. For some people the scar will be very thin while for others it will leave a more irregular mark.
6. The recovery period after cesarean section is longer
Faced with this idea, Dr Morton is clear: it all depends on the circumstances. Depending on the type of Caesarean section operated, namely scheduled or emergency, the mother is likely to react in different ways. Some go through childbirth relatively easily, while for others, the intervention and the recovery period are more difficult. In this specific case, the repercussions are always varied.
7. There is no risk apart from the cesarean procedure.
Although minimal, the doctor explains that the risks are still present during the operation, starting with anesthesia. Indeed, it is usually epidural but in some cases, a general anesthesia is necessary. In addition, there are risks of deep vein thrombosis (formation of a blood clot in the veins), hemorrhage and infection in the wound.