C-Section (Caesarian) & Painless labor
C-section is delivering your baby using surgical procedures. They have more risks associated in comparison to a normal delivery.
Reasons for performing C-Section
Your physician might schedule a caesarian delivery in case you encounter one or more of these childbirth complications
- If your baby is in breech position (i.e. feet or bottom first) in the womb and cannot be turned
- Baby has been diagnosed with congenital birth defects
- You have triplets or more (multiple pregnancies)
- If the placenta sits very low in the uterus and blocks the cervical opening
- If you have high blood pressure because of pregancy
- If you have had a c-section previously although normal childbirth after a previous C-section is quite common nowadays.
Some caesarians are unexpected and are performed when childbirth complications arise during normal delivery. Some of the determining factors are
- Labor stops or is not progressing in spite of medications
- Placenta separates from uterine walls
- Changes in the fetal heart rate
- Baby’s head or body is too big to pass through the birth canal.
A C-section procedure begins with an IV during labor followed by administering anesthesia. In case a general anesthesia is administered (in case of emergency caesarian deliveries) you can expect to be groggy, disoriented or sick to the stomach etc once you wake up. In case of planned C-sections an epidural is injected into the spinal cord. Once you are numb, your doctor will make incisions in your abdomen and uterus and the baby is brought out into the world. The umbilical cord is then cut and placenta removed before stitching you up.
Risks of a C-Section/ Caesarian
Caesarian deliveries are considered safe for both the mother and the baby. However potential risks/side effects may arise due to Caesarian surgery such as
- Increased bleeding
- Bladder or bowel injury
- Reactions to medications
- Blood clots
- Injuries to the baby
- Death (very rare cases)
When it comes to emergency caesarians, the benefits outweigh the risks as it saves you or your baby’s life.
Recovery from a C-Section
The recovery period for caesarian childbirth is more compared to a normal delivery. You may feel tired, have soreness around the incision, be constipated or have gastric problems, have difficulty getting around or lifting your baby. Your physician can provide medications that are safe while breastfeeding to ease the pain of the incision. The uterus requires approximately 6-8 weeks to contract and get back to its position.
Walking frequently and mainly during the first few days of surgery helps ease post surgery pain and discomfort to some extent. It also prevents blood clots and keeps your bowels moving. Also C-Sections scars fade over time. In case you experience any discomfort, feel free to check with your doctor.
There has always been apprehensions regarding labor pain but with the introduction of labor analgesia perception of pain has gradually changed. In the US around 70-80% women opt for this procedure. Even in India, a large majority of women with increased level of awareness and information opt for this procedure. Epidural Anesthesia is the most popular and safe analgesia for you and your baby. Other methods of pain relief include breathing exercises, water birth, hypnosis, medications etc but are not as reliable and safe as an epidural. The epidural is a regional anesthesia in which the medication is injected near the spinal cord into the spinal canal. It numbs the body below the waist but movements of these body parts are not impaired.
Advantages of using an epidural include
- Mother experiences no stress or anxiety. She is completely conscious, alert and mobile throughout the labor. As no pain is felt she can focus on pushing the baby in normal childbirth
- Ideal for hypertensive mothers as they feel relaxed and their blood pressure is under control.
- If an emergency caesarian needs to be performed, it may be sufficient anesthesia or the effect can be topped up.
Please check with your physician and weigh the pros and cons before choosing an epidural for labor.
The Price for a healthy pregnancy varies radically. It depends on factors such as where you live, whether you encounter any complications and finally depends on whether it’s a normal or caesarian childbirth. Here are some tips to help you manage the costs effectively
- Choose a hospital that offers good rates for delivery and keep your stay at the hospital short if possible
- Understand your insurance plan
- Don’t go overboard on luxuries that are not must- haves