A Caesarean section, or C section, might be a scary prospect for some first-time mums, but the reality is that more and more of us are having C sections – a study by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), UCD and Trinity College Dublin, found that births by c section had increased to 30 per cent in 2014. There are many reasons for the increase, including the fact that couples are waiting until they’re older to have children, more multiple births and better screening during pregnancy, a huge reason for the significantly reduced risk of death in childbirth for both mothers and children.
A C section is a serious operation, and the decision to have a section is never taken lightly- ‘too posh to push’ is just one of the many myths surrounding C sections that we’d like to put straight today!
Once you have a C section you cannot go back
For years, women who’d had a C section were encouraged to skip vaginal deliveries altogether and schedule C sections for all future births. But these days, a vaginal birth after caesarean (or VBAC) is considered a safe option for many women and their babies. C sections depend on the baby’s position in the womb and of course, doctor’s orders.
It’s hard to bond with your child after a C section
Utter nonsense. No matter how your baby is born, you have been carrying and nurturing your baby for nine months, and a bond already exists between you both. There is also nothing more magical than that first skin-on-skin contact with your little one.
C section babies will have difficulty breastfeeding
Latching on is hard for some babies and easier for others. If your baby is having difficulty feeding, this may have nothing to do with how he/she was born. Give it time, as your baby might take a few days to get the hang of it. Breast milk takes up to four days longer to produce after a C section so just be patient with both your milk and baby. And always seek help if you are struggling – your public health nurse is a good first port of call.
There’s no skin-to-skin contact
Again, nonsense. Make it clear from the off that you would like skin-to-skin contact. Most hospitals will automatically encourage skin-to-skin, unless there is a medical reason why not.
You’re bed-ridden after a C section
It takes longer, on average, to recover from a section than a vaginal birth; a C section is considered major abdominal surgery and shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, every woman recovers from birth differently. In general, allow yourself six weeks to recover from a section, but there is no need to stay in bed unless you really want to. In fact, most doctors would recommend moving around, unless there are other complications. A physio in the hospital will probably give you gentle exercises to try once you’re feeling a little better. Just keep an eye on the wound and make sure not to lift heavy weights or do too much, too soon. Some car insurance policies forbid driving in the six weeks following a section; check this. Beyond that, if you can make an emergency stop, you should be okay to drive.
C section isn’t “giving” birth
Again, nonsense. It doesn’t matter what part of your body the baby comes from. Bringing a child into the world is still giving birth. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
C section will ruin your stomach muscles
Regardless of whether you had a natural birth or a C section, your stomach muscles will be not be the same post baby. Carrying around a baby for nine months takes a toll on your body in many ways. You should not partake in strenuous activity for a few weeks after a C section; however, try the gentle ab and pelvic floor exercises provided by the physio as soon as you’ve been given the go ahead.
A C sections leaves an awful scar
C-sections are extremely common nowadays so obstetricians have become skilled at making the smallest cut needed to safely deliver babies. Though the cut along your bikini line will look red and raw the first few weeks, it will dull over time. After a few months your scar will be nearly invisible. Using scar creams will help aid the process.
You’ve “failed” as a mother if you have a section
A mother is a mother. It really doesn’t matter how you give birth as long as you and your baby are well. Believe us, you will forget how you gave birth very very soon when the hard work of rearing a baby and a child kicks in. Enjoy these early days.