c-section vs. vaginal delivery

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I have a question for all you mom's out there. My fiance and I have been talking a lot about having a baby lately. I love children- I am the ultimate baby person, however, the idea of being pregnant and labor TERRIFIES me. I have an extremely low pain tollerance and an extreme fear of hospitals, needles and blood. I've contemplated the idea of having a planned c-section. Anyway, my question is, for you women who can compare a c-section to a vaginal delivery (I'd have to go with an epidural) or who simply have knowledge of it, which is easier physically/mentally/etc.? I've often wondered the differences between the two besides the obvious.
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I wouldn't choose to have a c-section for no medical reason - it is major surgery with permanent scars and the recovery can be tough.

Even with a section, there will be hospitals, needles, blood and pain. You'll have to dress the wound, you'll be catheterized, etc. etc. etc.

I was scared of labour too but I had a natural, vaginal delivery. Everyone's birth is different, but for me it was much less painful and difficult than I imagined - yes, parts of it were not pretty, but it was manageable!
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Well, I've only had one baby and it was through vaginal delivery, so I can't compare it to c-section. I can only report that while the 8 hours of labor I went through were indeed living hell (have to be honest), and I too have an extremely low tolerance of pain, it was soo worth it in the end. I really think the better able you are to cope with it mentally, the better you can handle it. And I had no problem yelling out whatever I wanted during the labor instead of trying those breathing exercises that are usually recommended!

I didn't have an epidural, and my labor was induced since my water bag broke with no natural contractions. Plus in the end I had to have a slight vaginal incision, and the baby was vacuumed out. So there's always risks either way, but I have no regrets since I had a good doctor who knew what he was doing, plus 2 doulas to coach and comfort me along the way.

I would say that since natural birth is less risky, if you can just pull it off, go for it. But don't feel bad if your instinct tells you that you absolutely won't be able to handle it and you think you need to plan a c-section. Yes, there are known risks, but both methods have their risks and c-sections are known to be overall quite successful the U.S. (where do you live, by the way?).

Here is a link you might find helpful:

http://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.c...nal-birth.html

Last edited by Paula; 02-19-2008 at 05:50 PM.
I've never had a c-section, just a vaginal birth. I think all these celebrities make it sound like it's a snap and there is no pain at all, but it's major abdominal surgery. They have to make an incision in your belly big enough to fit a baby through. Recovery is no picnic, there is a higher possibility possibility of infection than vaginal birth. It's great that c-sections are there for the cases where they are necessary, but I personally would not choose one. I've heard that with a vaginal birth you get more pain and discomfort at the time of birth. With a scheduled caesarean, there isn't pain at the time (unless of course your anesthesia doesn't take) but lots more pain afterwards.
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an option for you may be hypnobirthing.

I'm going to look into it myself.
hello.world.
I have had a c-section and wouldn't recomend it to my worst enemy! You would be puting yourself at higher risk for things such as postpartum hemorrage, something I myself had to go through. i also had a hematoma on my lower abdomen that took quite awhile to heal.

Plus if you plan on breastfeeding I think you are less likely to be sucessful.

i was the exact same way as you--terrified of labor. and watching films in birthing class made it worse. i cried like a baby!

my sister has had 3 c-sections. the first was not planned but i believe the 2nd two were. she said that she liked it because she felt nothing and when she woke up she had a clean new baby to ooh and ahh over. shes never mentioned much about the healing so im guessing it wasnt that huge of a deal because she rants and raves about how wonderful c sections were.

due to a medical reason, the dr said that there was a possibility of having a planned c section in my case. i was ecstatic! but alas, after 36 hours of labor at home i demanded that they get that baby out of me ASAP and i wasnt leaving until she was out. labor pains were awful. i had to be induced because i wouldnt dilate, but had been having severe contractions 2-3 minutes apart for days. for what its worth, my sister never dialted with the first one and my mom never did on her own either.anywho, i got an epidural and it was the greatest thing ever. i was no longer in pain and i actually slept for the first time in forever. LOVED IT!!! i had no tearing either so it all worked out. im a wuss and could never do natural childbirth.
I've had one of each. And while I don't feel qualified to say which is "better" or "easier," I can say that there were pros and cons to both.

But I was someone who had a labor from hell (4 days long)! And I had a scheduled c-section that was a piece of cake. An easy vaginal delivery probably a million times better than an easy c-section. But not everyone has an easy vaginal delivery.

And I think there are some misconceptions about c-sections. The size of the scar (mine is only about 4 inches long, very low and barely visible), the ability to breastfeed (I breastfed immediately), the ability to see the baby being delivered (I was fully awake, able to move around from the waist up and was offered a mirror to watch), the ability to have your spouse present (my husband was there and we talked during the entire thing), the degree to which you are out of commission afterwards (I was walking around the next day and exercising in two weeks). I've heard weird things about people thinking you are strapped to the bed...you can't hold the baby afterward, etc. And those things just aren't true (assuming there are no complications). Nope, you don't have to change the dressing. There is no dressing on the incision. Just 10-15 small strips of tape you let fall off.

What drove me crazy was having to be in the hospital for so long (4 days). If I'd had other kids at the time, that just wouldn't have been practical. And the pain is pretty bad the first week (even with the meds, it hurts to move around). Getting up from the bed is awful the first few days. They won't let you eat until you have a BM. And c-sections are so expensive...most insurance plans don't cover it all nowadays.

A vaginal delivery is great because there is a sense of completion and a sense of having accomplished something...which is now fortunately over! You can get up and walk away from it all in a few hours. Well, I could. But some people tear something awful during vaginal deliveries and probably have close to the pain of a c-section afterward. And some women have to have vaginal surgeries later on to repair damage from tearing.

My labor (for the vaginal delivery) lasted forever! And I started seriously losing touch w/ reality during it all. I literally starting thinking it would NEVER end. The c-section took 10 minutes (from start to delivery) and was pretty calm and straight forward.

But c-sections weaken the uterus and make subsequent pregnancy/delivery more risky. Once you have one c-section it's more likely that you'll have a second one because doctors don't want to assume the risk of your uterus rupturing. And there is sometimes a limit on the number of pregnancies you're "allowed" when you start having c-sections (not an issue for me as I don't want to have anymore biological children). I've known a couple of women who had four c-sections w/out problems. (But I know another woman who had three or four c-sections and she had to get some kind of screen put into her abdominal cavity...like a window screen...because she needed the support after so many surgeries. wth?) I believe there is a higher chance of complications during a c-section that could result in the need for a hysterectomy, though those are very rare. And they probably won't want to induce you during a future pregnancy if you've had a c-section...but they don't have a problem augmenting. These are all serious issues but in my case they were all hypothetical.

I think they both have their good points...and they vary from person to person, and from situation to situation. And even though it offends some people...I think the *main* thing is that ultimately you and the baby are OK.

Hope that helps!
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Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 02-15-2008 at 10:10 PM.
I wasn't allowed to hold my baby so I think that part depends on the hospital, and no it wasn't cause of the bleeding because that came later after I was already in recovery.

I wasn't allowed to hold my baby so I think that part depends on the hospital, and no it wasn't cause of the bleeding because that came later after I was already in recovery.
Originally Posted by Delma
Was yours an emergency c-section or a scheduled one? Because I have heard that sometimes after emergencies, the mothers can't hold their babies.
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

I wasn't allowed to hold my baby so I think that part depends on the hospital, and no it wasn't cause of the bleeding because that came later after I was already in recovery.
Originally Posted by Delma
Was yours an emergency c-section or a scheduled one? Because I have heard that sometimes after emergencies, the mothers can't hold their babies.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
Nope it was scheduled, the held him up to show him to me and that was it. I didn't get to hold him till I was in the recovery room.

I wasn't allowed to hold my baby so I think that part depends on the hospital, and no it wasn't cause of the bleeding because that came later after I was already in recovery.
Originally Posted by Delma
Was yours an emergency c-section or a scheduled one? Because I have heard that sometimes after emergencies, the mothers can't hold their babies.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
Nope it was scheduled, the held him up to show him to me and that was it. I didn't get to hold him till I was in the recovery room.
Originally Posted by Delma
Awww.

They stuck mine right in my face and practically forced my boob into her mouth. I just wanted to take a nap but they were pretty adamant about the breastfeeding!

Were you able to breastfeed?

Don't worry too much. I'm sure you'll be able to have a VBAC if you want you...sounds like you do.
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

No they sent my SO to feed him , and then I was worried about all the meds they had me on affecting the baby so I didn't try to breastfeed really until I was off the pain meds and by that time he had pretty much got used to the bottle and wasn't really feeling the whole breastfeeding thing and I didn't really push it,though I guess I should have.

Yes I definitely would prefer a VBAC hopefully I can find a Dr. who will agree with my choice.

No they sent my SO to feed him , and then I was worried about all the meds they had me on affecting the baby so I didn't try to breastfeed really until I was off the pain meds and by that time he had pretty much got used to the bottle and wasn't really feeling the whole breastfeeding thing and I didn't really push it,though I guess I should have.
Originally Posted by Delma
Well, I can understand your decision for not wanting to BF him under those circumstances for sure. I had prescriptions for narcotics this time around for my back pain. I rarely took them but when I did, I just formula fed. Everyone said it was fine to BF while taking ther narcotics but I just don't agree and think formula was a much better choice.

What was the reason for your scheduled c-section the first time around? A medical reason or just for convenience? I think there are plenty of doctors and midwives who would support your wish for VBAC if there weren't lots of complicated reasons for the c-section.
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

I went over my due date so my midwife said I would have the choice of a c-section or being induced well then she sent me for one last ultrasound and I get this horrible woman who tells me my baby it going to be 12 or 13 lbs (he was 8.10) and that if I attempted to have him naturally " you'll never be the same down there again and your baby will probably be retarded cause they'll have to pull him out with forceps".

So this being my first baby and all I let this woman terrify me into choosing the c-section. The thought of something happening to my baby scared the sh** out of me.

Things probably would have worked out better if I spoke with my midwife about what happened but I didn't.

I had a planned c-section b/c he was breach. I was happy b/c I was scared of labor too! I loved it, but the recovery was a beyotch!!! It's either hours of labor pains or weeks of c-section pains...
A closed mind is a wonderful thing to lose.

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I've had 3 c-secs and 1 vaginal delivery. The c-secs hurt FAR FAR worse than the natural birth. There were more needles involved also, and a longer stay in the hospital.
I haven't personally experienced either but I am planning for a natural vaginal delivery. I used to be afraid of labor but the more I learned about birth and the more I saw, as a doula, the less and less I feared it, and the more I began to see it as a natural process. Billions of women have given birth throughout human history. I'm just as strong and capable as they are.

Some factors to consider about a c-section. C-sections have increased rates of both maternal and infant mortality over vaginal deliveries. They are far more likely to cause infection or other complication in the mother and baby. C-sections also put your future pregnancies at increased risk for things like placental problems and uterine rupture. Babies born by c-section may have more trouble breathing; babies delivered by c-section when labor had not commenced (i.e. in a planned c-section) are at higher risk for respiratory problems than either vaginally-delivered babies or babies born by c-section after labor had started.

Having a c-section just transfers the pain of giving birth from before the birth to after the birth--and afterward, you've got a newborn to care for. You will still have to deal with your fear of hospitals and needles--in fact, you will need to spend more time in the hospital and be subjected to more medical procedures than if you have a normal vaginal delivery.

You will not get to hold the baby for a while after the birth if you have a c-section, and if you want to breastfeed it may be more difficult for you to get off to a good start.

Bottom line, c-sections make it more likely that you and your baby will get sick or even die and more likely that you will have problems in future pregnancies. You will have to spend more time in the hospital and there will be just as much needles and blood, if not more.

I can also attest from being a doula that c-sections are no walk in the park. They are uncomfortable during the procedure, even with the pain meds, and painful afterwards. And being strapped down to a bed in an OR is really not the nicest way to meet your new baby. C-sections are great when they are medically necessary, but why anyone would choose one is beyond me. Your body was made to labor and deliver vaginally. Your baby was made to come out that way. Otherwise we'd have zippers in our bellies. Have faith in your body.

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