A cesarean section (C section) is a surgical procedure in which incisions are made through a woman’s abdominal wall (laparotomy) and uterine wall (hysterotomy) to deliver the baby. C section may be planned in cases where it becomes evident during pregnancy that the procedure will be necessary or it may be performed as an emergency intervention.
The procedure is often used in cases where the mother has had a previous Dystocia section. Dystocia, or difficult labor, is the other common cause of c-sections. Difficult labor is commonly caused by one of the three following conditions: abnormalities in the mother’s birth canal; abnormalities in the position of the fetus; or abnormalities in the labor, including weak or infrequent contractions.
Another major factor is Fetal distress, a condition where the fetus is not getting enough oxygen. Fetal brain damage can result from oxygen deprivation. Fetal distress is often related to abnormalities in the position of the fetus or abnormalities in the birth canal, causing reduced blood flow through the placenta. Other conditions also can make c-section advisable, such as vaginal herpes, hypertension, and diabetes in the mother.
There are several ways that obstetricians and other doctors diagnose conditions that may make a c-section necessary. Ultrasound testing reveals the positions of the baby and the placenta and may be used to estimate the baby’s size and gestational age. Fetal heart monitors, in use since the 1970s, transmit any signals of fetal distress. Oxygen deprivation may be determined by checking the amniotic fluid for meconium.
The most common type of C-section performed is the lower uterine segment C-section (LUSCS), which involves a transverse incision being made across the lower abdomen, just above the bladder. A less common form involves a vertical incision being made in the abdomen, which allows a larger space for delivering the baby. This is rarely used since it has a greater complication rate. In most cases, regional anesthesia is administered for a C-section.
Pros of C-section
There are not a lot of advantages to having a C-section other than avoiding the risk and pain of vaginal delivery. Vagnal delivery is not suited for all woman depending on their health condition & if a pregnant woman knows that she will need a C-section, a surgical birth can be scheduled in advance, making it more convenient and predictable than a vaginal birth and going through a long labor.
Cons of C-section
A woman who had a C-section typically stays in the hospital longer, two to four days on average, compared with a woman who has a vaginal delivery. Having a C-section also increases a woman’s risk for more physical complaints following delivery, such as pain at the site of the incision and longer-lasting soreness.
Because a woman is undergoing surgery, a C-section involves an increased risk of blood loss and a greater risk of infection. The bowel or bladder can be injured during the operation or a blood clot may form.
A review study found that women who have had a C-section are less likely to begin early breastfeeding than women who had a vaginal birth. The recovery period after delivering is also longer because a woman may have more pain and discomfort in her abdomen as the skin and nerves surrounding her surgical scar need time to heal, often at least two months.
Once a woman has had her first C-section, she is more likely to have a C-section in her future deliveries, She may also be at greater risk of future pregnancy complications, such as uterine rupture.
Women who undergo a c-section should be encouraged to share their feelings with others. Hospitals can often recommend support groups for such mothers. Women should also be encouraged to seek professional help if negative emotions persist.