Caesarean Section

CaesareanA caesarean section or c-section is where your baby is delivered through an incision made into your abdomen and uterus. It is major abdominal surgery but you should get a wonderful result afterwards! 

REMEMBER – THE BEST BIRTH IS THE ONE THAT IS SAFEST, AND WHEN MEDICALLY NECESSARY A C-SECTION IS DEFINITELY SAFEST

There are four main types of c-section:-

Elective

The mother has chosen to have a c-section because she is worried about the pain of birth, the after effects of a vaginal birth or she would like to give birth at a time that is convenient for her.

Planned

This is when there is a medical reason (such as breech position of the baby) and the operation is booked to take place before labour begins.

Emergency

This is where the mother is in labour but there is a medical issue with either the mother or the baby.

Crash

This is when there is a real danger to the life of either the mother or baby.

Decreasing your chances of caesarean section

  • Educate yourself on maintaining your health during pregnancy and around normal labour and birth.
  • Hire a doula – studies have shown that having a doula as a member of the birth team decreases the overall cesarean rate by 50%, the length of labor by 25%, the use of oxytocin by 40%, and requests for an epidural by 60%.
  • Communicate with your caregivers.
  • Stay home in early labour.
  • Avoid unnecessary interventions – such as scheduling an induction as you are tired of being pregnant.
  • Avoid pain medication in early labour – try using coping techniques such as walking, a shower, a bath, bouncing on a birth ball, swaying, dancing and arm wrestling (its true – the last two work!)
  • Stay upright and move as much as you can in labour

Questions to ask

The more you know, the more prepared you are can make a huge difference to how you see the birth, but also to your mental health afterwards.  Here are some things you may want to bring up with your obstetrician before the big day.

  1. If labour isn’t progressing then what are the alternatives before we decide to have a c-section?
    1. Can we use oxytocin to induce contractions?
    2. Can I move around?
    3. Can I change positions?
  1. If the baby is breech – what techniques can you recommend or use to turn them?
  2. What kind of incision will you use?
  3. How many layers of stitching do you use internally? I would prefer a double layer*
  4. I’ve heard that it is common in Bahrain to have a patients arms secured during a c-section.  I would prefer this not to happen to me so is that possible?
  5. Can my partner/doula be with me?
  6. I would like to hold the baby as soon as possible – can this be arranged?
  7. I want to breastfeed so can I do this in the recovery room or even the operating theatre if the baby is hungry?
  8. If the baby does not need to go to special care then I would like them to be with me or my partner is that possible?
  9. How long will I be in hospital for?
  10. What will be my physical limitations after the baby is born?
  11. Can I take photos in the delivery suite?

*There is some debate about how many layers of internal stitching you should have after a c-section.  A single layer is quicker for the surgeon to perform but a double layer provides more security for any future pregnancies and makes a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) more possible.