According to WHO, Caesarean Section (CS) should only be performed when necessary. However, rather unfortunately, in the upper and middle income countries it is often performed without need, putting women and their babies at risk of short and long term health problems.

Coming to my own unique side of the world, Nigeria, I tend to think that many women put off the CS option even when their life and/or that of their baby’s are at risk. It is not uncommon to hear pregnant women spit out ‘God forbid’ if their doctor dares suggest the CS option to them. Then, despite the looming complications, they and their families begin to waste valuable time by ‘rejecting’ and ‘casting out’ all the forces that have come to stain their joy.

The resolve of these endangered moms-to-be is perhaps strengthened when they consider the fact that ‘tomorrow’, they are likely to be snubbed by those moms who were ‘woman enough’ to walk down the natural birth path without any ‘artificial’ help whatsoever. These ‘brave women’ act like their counterparts have somehow missed out on what they believe to be the most defining moment of motherhood – labor (instead of that humbling moment when, for the first time, they come face-to-face with the little bundles that had just spent the last 9 months in their wombs)

To be honest, I too have always believed that CS should only be performed when necessary and so, I was absolutely passionate about bringing my baby out the natural way. For me, it was a case of why go under the knife if it was absolutely unnecessary? Also, after hearing, reading and watching so much about the natural birth process, I couldn’t wait to have my own personal experience to share. But come on, if my life or that of my daughter had been at risk, CS would not have been a debate for me. Instead, it would have been my proud choice.

The truth is that what defines us as moms is not how many hours of laboring pain we had to endure before we finally pushed our babies out. On the contrary, what defines us is what we do with those babies when they are finally out. 

Besides, do you think your kid is going to care about how exactly he was popped out from you? Do you think that the rewardingly challenging journey of motherhood will cut loads of slack to those moms who had CS? Infact if we must take on a debate, from what I hear, the recovery process from a CS delivery is no child’s play at all!

With that been said, let’s look at those situations where according to NHS UK, planned and emergency CS are necessary –

PLANNED CS

  • Abnormal positioning of baby
  • Pre-eclampsia (pregnancy related high blood pressure)
  • 2 or more previous CS
  • Small pelvis – If baby’s head is bigger than the space in your pelvis through which it needs to travel
  • Placenta praevia – If the placenta is blocking womb’s exit
  • Viral infection – When there is a risk of the infection transferring to the baby if born through the natural process. Example includes a first attack of genital herpes.
  • Medical conditions – Such as heart problems
  • Restricted growth of baby in the womb
  • Multiple birth expected

EMERGENCY CS

  • Unborn baby not getting enough oxygen  
  • Labour not progressing despite effort to move baby from womb to vagina
  • Lots of vaginal bleeding during labour
  • Medically recommended, induced labour not bringing about contractions which are effective enough to lead to a vaginal delivery

*Do you know that women above 35 are likely to need CS because they are prone to the following complications during pregnancy:

  • High blood pressure
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Slow widening of cervix
  • Having a large baby
  • Having their baby adopt an awkward position in the womb
  • Placenta praevia

So in summary, in as much as natural birth should always be your first option, be quick to jump on the CS bandwagon if a natural birth will put you and/or your baby at risk of some avoidable complications. As for the silly side talk and stigmatization from the ignorant moms out there…Ignore them and never you forget that you were simply wise enough to save both you and your baby.

(Image courtesy: women.smokefree.govwww.huffingtonpost.comthemedcircle.comicon360.blogspot.comapp.emaze.com)