I do not favour Caesarean births over natural births. There is no doubt that an uncomplicated and straight forward natural birth is the ideal and has many benefits for mother and baby, including quicker recovery for mother, a sense of control and easier breastfeeding.
However, as a mother who’s had three successful Caesareans, I can say they also have their advantages. After my last Caesarean I was up and about the next day, breastfeeding started on the third day after birth and I have never experienced incontinence. Mr magentafrog was involved at each Caesar and I felt a sense of control as I knew what was happening and I was mentally prepared without the anxiety of not knowing when birth was about to start.
With each operation it was called an elective Caesarean. However, this is misleading as for me it was never really a choice; more of a path I was sent down. For my first pregnancy my labour ended in a Caesarean. For my second I tried for a Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC) but this did not eventuate either. Then with my third pregnancy I was already set down the path of the scheduled Caesarean as my medical history and previous management of my earlier pregnancies dictated another one. In addition to this I live in a remote town and was not about to go against medical advice and jeopardise the health of my baby or myself for the sake of experiencing labour.
Most babies in Australia are born naturally, that is by spontaneous vaginal birth, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics:
In 2004, 59% of women gave birth in this way, a fall from 68% in 1991. Much of this decline can be explained by the increasing use of caesarean section for delivery, with 29% of women giving birth by caesarean section in 2004, a substantial increase from 18% in 1991. Factors associated with increased caesarean rates are advancing maternal age, multiple pregnancy, low birthweight, breech presentation and private accommodation status in hospital. Around one in nine mothers (11%) had an assisted vaginal delivery, with forceps or vacuum extraction being used to assist the birth, a decrease from 13% in 1991.
Australian Social Trends 2007, Australia’s babies
In my opinion there has been an increase in the medicalization of birth. Colloquially there is a sense that Caesareans are done at the convenience of the doctor and/or women who are choosing it over natural births for their personal reasons.
This has created a significant opposite end of the spectrum with natural birthing advocates espousing extreme views of no intervention at any cost. This is not only dangerous; it gives those in the birthing industry a bad reputation overall.
I have personally experienced this attitude whereby I was made feel that I was taking the easy option and that I must’ve feared labour and this had ‘held me back’. If this had occurred with my first baby or if I were a younger mum this may have severely affected my level of confidence and wellbeing.
This extreme view also creates judgement. By this I mean judgement of mothers and how their births proceed. After my first Caesarean I felt that I had failed somehow; that I was not a real mother until I had joined the club of painful labour. By the time my second Caesarean had occurred I was positively annoyed that I had to justify to judgemental midwifery staff as to why I was having one. After the birth of my third baby I was surprised that the judgement was continuing. But by this time I had come to terms with it and knew this is how it is for me.
Having a baby is hard work, no matter how you get them. What I would like to promote is healthy outcomes for mother and baby no matter what happens during the course of labour or what methods mother decides to go with or ends up with as a result of her medical situation.
What is important is that modern medicine allows women the ability (either by choice or for medical reasons) to have a Caesarean and so have a healthy baby, where they might not otherwise.
Let’s get rid of the judgement surrounding Caesars and celebrate every baby no matter how they enter the world!
Have any other Caesar mums felt a distinct air of disapproval from nursing staff?