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Should women go for C-Sections without an emergency?

 Should women go for a C-section without an emergency? (Photo: iStock)

From the risks and complications that can come from childbirth, it is clear that neither vaginal nor caesarean birth should be termed as "easy."

According to Dr Saudah Farooquim, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Nairobi West Hospital, a C-Section is the delivery of a foetus through the abdominal wall and the uterine wall.

Dr Saudah says that C-Sections are primarily performed to save the life of the mother and her baby. Doctors make the decision after weighing the risks and finding that the baby is safer outside the mother's womb.

Dr Saudah says that she would not recommend self-request C-Sections because of the risk of complications.

Also, a C-Section limits the number of babies you can have. The documented recommendation for the number of C-sections one can have is three C-Sections in a lifetime.

"The reason for that is when we make the incision on the uterus, it's always going to be a weak point it does not matter how many years have passed because the uterine wall is made of muscle and when we cut through, it heals by fibrosis or it heals by scaring. That scaring will always be a bit weaker than the rest of the uterus, the more the C-Sections the weaker the area becomes," says Dr Saudah.

However, Dr Saudah says that she has had patients who have had more surgeries and what a patient should follow is the doctor's recommendation, especially the doctor who did the last C-Section because they know the strength of the uterus. If the uterine wall was too thin, then the experts might even recommend the woman should stop conceiving after two C-Sections.

She says that while, overall in the long term a vaginal birth heals faster than a C-Section, the recovery time varies from patient to patient.

"After the C-section, the skin over the scar can heal after two weeks. Some patients heal even after seven days. It depends on whether you have diabetes that can delay healing or if you have low blood count," she says

In general, in about two weeks most of the wounds will close from the outside and, internally, the uterus can take around six weeks to three months to heal.

Bonding with baby

Dr Saudah says that there can be a little bit of a delay in bonding between the mother and the baby after a C-Section especially if it's a complicated surgery or if the baby is not doing well; if the baby has come out with some respiratory distress.

However, Dr Saudah says that mothers who have had vaginal births can also take long to bond with their babies if there were complications.

She says that even in caesarean birth, skin-to-skin contact can happen very soon because nowadays patients receive spinal anaesthesia whereby the woman is paralysed from the umbilical cord downwards.

"She's able to hear, she's able to see and touch her baby after birth," Dr Saudah says.

Never easy

All factors considered, vaginal births should never be seen as a conquest of "real moms."

From the risks and complications that can come from childbirth, it is clear that neither vaginal nor caesarean birth should be termed as "easy". This school of thought is based on the misconception that caesarean delivery is less painful, safer, and healthier than vaginal delivery.

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