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Why C-Section Moms Are Brave: The Serious Risks They Face During Delivery
  • Anyone who says that a woman having a cesarean section is not a real mom because she didn't give birth vaginally is gravely mistaken. A mother is not determined by how she delivers her baby. A birth is a birth no matter what, even if it was by surrogate or adoption. 

    It's rare for women to choose to give birth via C-section. Doctors perform emergency C-sections only when they believe a vaginal delivery can put you and your baby in danger.  Sometimes a planned or elective C-section is decided beforehand for women who have a high-risk pregnancy due to complications such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. This is to avoid more risks to the mother or baby's life.

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    A C-section is a major surgical operation

    You cannot just order a C-section. A cesarean section is a major surgical procedure used to deliver a baby through incisions in the abdomen and uterus. It typically takes about 40 minutes to an hour to complete.  (Click here to read about what to expect before, during or after the operation.)

    There are two types of incisions: the bikini cut or low transverse uterine cut and traditional vertical cut used if the baby needs to be delivered urgently. Some women opt for a natural or gentle C-section, where doctors guide the baby to crawl out of the mother's incision on his own.

    Whatever type of cut or C-section you get, it's not easy to recover from it compared to vaginal births. Moms who've given birth vaginally and via CS attest to this. (Click here to know know more about CS postpartum recover.)


    Having a C-section poses more risks to the mother and baby

    If you're thinking of having a C-section as your ticket away from experiencing labor pains, which some mamas may have warned you about, stop. Like other types of surgery, a C-section carries risks that may affect your overall well-being moving forward.  

    The Mayo Clinic lists the possible C-sections infections of a mother: 

    1. Infection of the wound

    This is one of the most common risks when having a C-section. The incision wound can be numb, red, and even have some swelling or itchiness. (Click here to know how to care for your CS wound.)

    2. Infection of the womb lining, or endometritis

    Endometritis is inflammation of the inner lining of the uterus. Its symptoms include fever, tummy pain, abnormal vaginal discharge, and heavy vaginal bleeding. 

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    3. Postpartum hemorrhage

    Excessive bleeding during or after the surgery may require a blood transfusion or further surgery, such as a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) to stop the bleeding.

    4. Blood clots

    The surgery increases your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a blood clot inside a deep vein often in the leg or pelvic organs. Its symptoms include pain and swelling. If the blood clot travels into the lungs, it can block blood flow (pulmonary embolism) and potentially be fatal.

    5. Surgical injuries.

    It's rare, but surgical injuries can damage the bladder or the tubes that connect the kidneys and bladder. This will require further surgery to resolve. Your baby can also get accidental nicks in the skin during the operation.

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    6. Increased risks for future pregnancies

    Having a C-section puts you at a higher risk for more severe complications in your succeeding pregnancies than you would after a vaginal delivery. Repeated C-section poses a more elevated risk of placental problems, such as placenta previa (the placenta blocks the cervix) or placenta accreta (placenta is too attached to the uterine wall).

    Doctors also suggest having only up to three C-sections due to the risk of the uterus rupture. The uterus can tear open along the scar line from a prior C-section during pregnancy or when attempting vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC). 

    7. Breathing problems for your baby.

    Babies born via C-section are more likely to develop respiratory problems like transient tachypnea. This breathing problem presents as abnormally fast breathing during the first few days after birth. It's more common in babies born before 39 weeks of gestation. It usually improves after a few days, but your baby will be closely monitored in the hospital. 

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    Post-CS operation symptoms that require medical attention

    Any mom who just gave birth shoudl take it easy. Your body needs time to heal. Still, be on the lookout for red flags that tell you something is amiss. The American Pregnancy Association advises to call your doctor or rush to the hospital if you experience any of the following: 

    • High fever
    • Severe headache that doesn't go away
    • Sudden shortness of breath
    • Sore, red, painful area on the breasts coupled with flu-like symptoms
    • Discharge from the wound, especially if it's foul-smelling
    • Sudden pain in the incision or abdomen area
    • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
    • Severe vaginal bleeding that soaks a maxi pad within an hour
    • Burning urination or blood in the urine
    • Appearance of rashes or hives
    • Swollen, red, painful area in the leg
    • If your incision wound opened

    C-sections save lives, and these complications or risks are the tradeoff. It's not a cop-out, nor does it make you less of a mom if you need to undergo a C-section to deliver your precious little one. Any mom would brave the risks just to deliver her baby safely. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. 

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