I remember a conversation I had with my friends back in the University. We had been adamant about opting for an elective Caesarean Section, rather than having to go through the pain of labour. But by the time I got pregnant with my first child, I changed my mind, thanks to the constant discouragement I heard from people who are averse to Caesarian Section. In my mind, I became convinced that a vaginal birth was the only procedure that qualified for a supernatural child birth. After all, people only subjected themselves to the Caesarian Section because they lacked faith.
I also heard things like ‘Real women PUSHED out their babies’, or that the ‘Caesarian Section was for lazy women’. So I decided that it had to be ‘normal delivery’ or NOTHING for me. These days, when I think about how I used to shake my head at compromised their lives by rejecting the Caesarian Section, I quickly remember that I was one of those women too. I really believed that the Caesarian Section was the lesser option.
What I Feared About Caesarean Section
Like most women, I feared a couple of things about the procedure. I feared the pain, and if you have a low pain threshold, the thought alone can paralyze with fear. I was also afraid of all the risks associated with surgery, especially a major surgery like that. There was even a myth that said once you begin your child birth with a Caesarean Section, you will not be able to give birth ‘normally’ again. Other concerns were that subsequent deliveries had to be via a surgery and then, the person would not be able to have more than two procedures without risking complications. But my biggest fear was not medically related. It had to do with aesthetics. Those who did the procedure may as well kiss flat tummy bye-bye forever. My goodness, that fear was real. I assumed the Caesarean Section left you with a permanent ‘pregnancy’ and took away many clothing options. Over and above everything else, I feared that. So not only was it the ‘less preferred’ option, it also became the ‘scary’ option.
Taking Apart My Fears
Today, armed with knowledge, I have picked apart all my fears one after the other. Oh, and the knowledge I bear is solid. First, from my degree. I have a certification in Prenatal and Postnatal Health and Fitness. Second, my associations. My ObGyn became my best friend as we navigated my second pregnancy. And finally, personal experience. My first pregnancy was vaginal but my second was a very welcome Cesarean Section.
So back to taking apart our fears….
To begin with, while vaginal delivery is the straight forward and preferred option for some. But for other women, a Cesarean Section is the preferred and safer option. There is really no one-size-fits all approach when it comes to both.
Addressing The Myths
Can you have more than two Caesarian procedures? Yes. You can have as much as four, so long as there are no complications and your surgeon knows his job. This was something I had to ask my ObGyn and he said he had handled a good number of 4th Cesarean cases. After 4 though, you may need to be very cautious. Unlike vaginal births where you can push out 15 if you like, fewer options is safer with the CS.
So, is it true that once you begin with a section, you have to continue on that route without a choice? Yes and No. Yes, because in some cases, you are safest opting for elective surgeries with subsequent deliveries, but NO because it is not the Section itself that caused it, but usually an underlying medical condition. If, however, there are no complications, you can have a Vaginal Birth after a Cesarean, fancifully termed a VBAC
Now, is the Caesarian Section a lazy option? Any woman who has encountered both knows that for one, you deal with the pain before, for the other, you deal with the pain after. In my vaginal delivery case, the pain was before and after.
And to our worst fear, will your tummy remain big forever? My sister, that one is another huge myth. My post CS belly shrunk in 2weeks. This was due to the lifestyle I lived and choices I made while pregnant. A healthy lifestyle, comprising your diet and workouts in pregnancy cannot be over emphasized. If you don’t do what is right, whether vaginal or CS, your ‘preggy-belly’ will remain. It may take a woman who had a surgery a longer time, but with time, hard work and discipline, she can rock her flat belly again.