Making the decision to have a baby is momentous. It is a decision one takes to forever have their heart go walking around outside their body. In fact, birthing is the most profound initiation to spirituality a woman can have. As such, the ecstatic jubilant adventure is one of those special moments that every upcoming mother looks forward to in their life. The thought of knowing that after carrying a baby for nine months, the morning sickness, swollen feet and aching back, will be done away. The joy that comes with birthing not withholding the pain is undebatable. However, the process has led mothers trying to figure out which is the best method – with a string of factors playing a role in the final route. The decision reached on whether to give birth through caesarean or natural child birth is very controversial and may be influenced by numerous factors such as where your provider practices, what your insurance covers, whether you have a high-risk pregnancy and where you live and which hospitals are close.
Natural child birth is involuntary where the baby is delivered vaginally following a labour which has not been altered by technological interventions whilst, a caesarean section is a surgical operation for delivering a child by cutting through the wall of the mother’s abdomen. It is simply clean and the antiseptic nature of the operating theatre is very different from the physical exertion of labour. It is devoid of any sweat and tears. Back in the day, most women favoured natural birth as a good form of giving birth. If one was to have a caesarean section it was a clear indication that there were complications in the pregnancy. It was seen as a taboo in society for a woman to choose the caesarean section as she would miss out on the ‘joys’ of giving birth and hence, be judged by society and seen as an unfit mother. In the digital world were information is power, most women now prefer caesarean section compared to normal birth. Most women feel safer in the hands of modern technology and equipment as compared to the latter. Through the caesarean section, women have the opportunity of choosing the children’s birth days as compared to natural birth where one has to rely on God’s time to dictate the time and day.
Should you choose the C-Section…?
We live in an era where every second counts so the quicker something can be attained the more advantageous it is perceived to. A caesarean is quick in comparison to natural birth where sometimes labour pains may drag for eight hours or even more. The operation is done under anesthetic hence one wakes up when everything is done and dusted. This means it is one of those operations one goes through and leaves their friend with the ‘wake me up when it’s all over’ reminder. As such, Doctor David Emvula, a qualified medical doctor pointed out that most women nowadays preferred the caesarean section because it was less painful. “Nowadays most women prefer caesarean section because it is seen as the easier way and most women do not want to experience that pain of giving birth. There is a higher rate of caesarean sections in the private sector, however a caesarean section is an operation and an operation is dangerous,” said Emvula.
Emvula also shared that besides the luxury of saving time and pain, the nature of an operation, complications can never be exempted. By default, the clinical nature of the process avoids the necessity for the multiple probes of the vagina, which have become routine during what is termed ‘normal’ birth today. Mathematically, the risk of maternal death is higher with caesarean section than with vaginal birth, as is the risk of needing a hysterectomy. Scar tissue or adhesions may cause long- term pain, bowel obstruction, infertility or miscarriage and may make repeat surgery more difficult. Caesarean mothers are also at increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. Emvula added that with the caesarean section, one risked having the scars from the operation not being completely healed and having blood clots. Hence, some women would fear having more babies because of how their scar tissue would have healed. And with blades involved, there is a high risk of the baby being cut.
In addition, women who have caesareans suffer from more infertility than women who have vaginal births. This infertility is related directly to the physical effects of the surgery.
Dian Millan, a mother who gave birth through the caesarean section said, “My doctor has said that since I had so much scar tissue from my third caesarean-section, he doesn’t recommend that I try it again. We’ve decided to take his advice. Our third child died because of malformed kidneys, but we are blessed with two others”, said Millan.
Should you go all Natural?
While giving birth should be considered as an achievement and not a fear, many have consciously avoided going natural. Natural childbirth is considered safer and carries fewer risks for mothers and their babies. Doctor Emvula pointed out that natural birth was the best for all mothers though it all depends on the mothers’ health. He also added to the fact that medication used during labour can have a variety of negative effects on the baby including lowered heart rate, difficulty breathing and lowered breastfeeding success after delivery. However, “babies born naturally without medication are statistically more alert, responsive and have higher Apgar scores.” Ultimately, women who planned natural childbirths often feel great after delivering their babies because no drugs or needles would have been used.
Young Lindiwe Ndlovu said she would prefer natural birth as the recovery time was short and she could be up and about doing her daily chores in a short space of time as compared to the caesarean section that would require one to rest so that the adhesions could heal properly.
“One of the most painful things about natural birth is that it does not eliminate pain. This means the mother will feel everything connected to child birth such as the labour to the pushing as the natural method does not go away during these stages. Hence, natural birth is for the mothers with a high pain thresh hold,” shared Lindiwe. Weighing the two methods of delivery should enable one arrive at a clear decisions. However, making this choice may not always be in your reach as medical experts may advise otherwise. In the long run, the joy of becoming a mother overclouds the thought of the suitable method.
It’s all in your hands.Whatever the method of delivery, it remains a key highlight for most women