At least 25 percent of all deliveries are by Caesarean section. Yet there is still so much conflicting information around.
Birmingham-based gynaecologist Gabrielle Downey busts the most common myths even the most experienced mothers believe.
1. ‘ONCE A CAESAREAN ALWAYS A CAESAREAN’
No. You can have a vaginal delivery if you wish—70 per cent of women are successful the second time around.
The main risk is scar rupture, but it only happens to one in 200 women with a previous Caesarean section.
The risk of scar rupture increases with the number of previous Caesareans you have had, however, you may be advised to have a planned Caesarean.
2. ‘YOU DON’T BOND WITH YOUR BABY AS WELL’
I think the only time this may be true is a general anaesthetic Caesarean as you do not get to see the baby being born and you are much more ‘out of it’ from the drugs for a number of hours.
In reality, I don’t think that the bond of mother and child is solely dependent on which body part the baby exited from.
Most maternity units practice ‘skin-to-skin’ as soon as possible with mum and baby even if the birth was by Caesarean. Nature does what it needs to do.
3. ‘YOU CAN’T BREASTFEED’
Yes, you can.
The baby is usually put to your breast (if you wish) within 15 minutes of the end of the procedure.
The midwife will advise the most comfortable positions.
4. ‘YOU CAN’T WALK FOR DAYS’
You will be out of bed the next day, but your mobility will be reduced compared to a vaginal birth.
The scar is painful when getting out of bed, off a chair and twisting.
This reduces with time, although the time varies for each woman. Don’t be a martyr and avoid pain relief.
Avoid anything that puts pressure on the scar, but this is trial and error.
5. ‘YOU CAN’T DRIVE FOR SIX WEEKS’
You can actually drive whenever you want, as long as you feel in control of your vehicle, can do an emergency stop safely and there is no clause on your insurance that says otherwise.
6. ‘YOUR MUSCLES TAKE LONG TO RECOVER’
They do not as the muscles are not cut at Caesarean but gently pushed apart.
Any lack of tone is as a result of the pregnancy, not the delivery.
Take your time to recover and build up your exercise gently – walk with the pram at first.
7. EMOTIONAL DISTRESS IS GREATER IF YOU ‘FAILED AS A MOTHER’
This gets me mad as what makes you a ‘good mum’? It is certainly not the way the baby came into the world.
Enter pregnancy with the aim of delivering a healthy baby and remain healthy yourself in order to care for him or her.
That should be your primary aim, so don’t let yourself be bullied or blackmailed into thinking anything else is more important.
8. YOU WILL NOT HAVE A CHOICE OF TYPE OF DELIVERY NEXT TIME
You always have a choice; it just has to be an informed choice, being aware of all the risks and benefits.
Whichever way the baby comes out, be proud of yourself.
You have grown this baby from an embryo, kept it safe for nine months and brought it into the world.
Dr. Gabrielle Downey is a Birmingham-based consultant gynaecologist. She has been a consultant gynaecologist at the Birmingham City Hospital for over 15 years. Dr. Downey publishes regularly in renowned journals and writes for medical textbooks, was a co-author to the current NHS cervical smear program and has specialist expertise in problems such as abnormal smears among many other conditions.
What advice shocked you after your c-section experience?
Share your comments below.
- Photographer hits back at negative message around c-section delivery.
- Birth photographer shames mum
- Mum shares raw image of her csection scar to prove it is still a birth
- The C-Section photo that will catch your breath
- “Natural caesarean” video goes viral