Not all births are vaginal births. A cesarean section or C-section can be an alternative to a traditional vaginal birth. In most cases, C-sections are done for specific reasons to ensure the health of baby and mother. However, elective C-sections are becoming much more common. If you are deciding if a C-section is right for you or simply want to learn more about this birthing option, it is essential to become familiar with both the pros and cons of a C-section.
Even though C-sections are primarily used when a vaginal birth could put the baby or mother at risk, elective C-sections are becoming more common. It is important to become familiar with the pros and cons of C-sections so that you are prepared in case this is the method you have to use when giving birth to your child.
Pros of a C-Section
1. Planned Birth
A major benefit of a C-section is knowing for certain when your child will be born. Many mothers that have to schedule C-sections for medical reasons do enjoy the ability to know in advance when the birth will take place. Vaginal births are unexpected and you do not get to know exactly when you will go into labor. However, a C-section is completely scheduled and all the logistics of childbirth are much more manageable as a result.
2. Less Damage to the Vagina
No matter how you look at it, the vagina will stretch and be damaged as a result of vaginal birth. There is no way to avoid the stretching no matter the size of the infant. Many women complain about leaking urine and a looser feeling vagina after giving birth vaginally. Mothers that have C-sections can avoid these unpleasant feelings.
3. No Pain
The biggest pro associated with having a C-section involves the ability to avoid the pain that is associated with vaginal births. Labor during a vaginal birth can be incredibly painful for most women. With a C-section you do not have to endure intense pain during labor.
Cons of a C-Section
1. Longer Recovery
Women that undergo a C-section might not have to experience pain during birth, but they do have a longer recovery time and more pain post-delivery. Women that give birth via C-section typically stay in the hospital for a longer duration than women that give birth vaginally. After birth, women that have a C-section complain of weakness, slow movement and are in more discomfort than those that give birth traditionally.
2. Increased Risk of Breathing Problems for Baby
A major risk for babies that are born via C-section involves breathing problems. Research shows that the lungs of babies are developed during the vaginal birth process, but this is not the case during a C-section. As a result, babies that are born via C-section are at increased risk of developing breathing problems. Respiratory distress for your baby is one risk that you are taking when you choose a C-section.
What is a Cesarean Section?
Before you learn the intricate details of C-section pros and cons, it is a good idea to begin learning what a C-section is exactly. A C-section is essentially the process of delivering a baby through an incision in the mother’s belly instead of delivering the baby through the uterus. Women that undergo a C-section can be awake during birth and even have the ability to meet their newborn shortly after giving birth. Most women have the ability to give birth vaginally, but a good portion of women have to undergo a C-section in order to give birth safely. It is always a good idea for expectant mothers to be aware of the pros and cons of C-sections in case this is the method they have to use for delivery.
When is a C-section Needed?
Even though C-sections are becoming more elective in nature, they are mostly used in specific cases when problems arise during labor. There are a variety of different reasons when a C-section is preferred to vaginal birth. This includes slow labor, when the baby shows signs of distress during vaginal labor, if the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the baby or if the baby is too large for vaginal birth. These are just some of the common reasons why vaginal births sometimes end up being C-sections. In other cases, problems are noticed beforehand and a C-section is recommended before the vaginal birth option is even attempted.
Are C-Sections Common
C-sections are much more common than you might realize. Of all births in the United States, more than 30% of them are performed using a C-section. This means that more than 1.3 million births each year are C-section births and this number is only on the rise. In just the last 10 years, the use of C-sections has gone up by nearly 50%.