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Thursday, April 09, 2020

Can you have a vaginal birth after C-section? Here’s what moms should know about caesarean delivery

A doctor would recommend C-section only if normal delivery is not possible, due to maternal or foetal reasons like the mother's high blood pressure.

By: Parenting Desk | Updated: January 9, 2020 1:41:11 pm
c section A woman should be made aware of the risks of C-section. (Source: Getty Images)

According to 2015-16 report by National Family Health Survey, 40.9 per cent births in private facilities and 11.9 per cent births in public facilities happened through C-section. But mothers going for a caesarean delivery are often bombarded with too many opinions and prejudices, which only confuse them more. The ultimate goal is to have a healthy child and mother. We spoke to Dr Anita K Mohan, consultant gynaecologist & obstetrician, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim, to clear your doubts about caesarean delivery.

1. Is C-section safer/more unsafe than vaginal birth?

A woman should know why she is going for C-section because it is little more risky than vaginal delivery. The risk of bleeding and other complications in the mother and baby are higher in C-section as compared to normal delivery. A doctor would recommend C-section only if normal delivery is not possible, due to maternal or foetal reasons like the mother’s high blood pressure or if the baby passes stool inside the womb.

Some women go for elective caesarean, that is, C-section before going into labour, as suggested if the baby is in the breech position.

2. Risks of C-section

The mother should know about the risks of C-section, the duration of the procedure and the time taken to recover. The risks involve that of the surgery itself and associated risks like that of anaesthesia. If the woman is overweight or if she is underweight (45 kg), the risks double up in case of C-section. Apart from extreme weight issues, if the blood pressure is very high or is diagnosed with diabetes or if she has twins or triplets, the risks increase.

The general risks are of infection, excessive bleeding during surgery which may require blood transfusion. The risks, however, vary from mother to mother.

3. Once a C-section, always a C-section?

Can a woman who had a caesarean section have a normal delivery? The answer is yes, although the chances of a repeat C-section are higher, depending on whether the risks because of which the woman had a C-section in the first place persist.

4. Recovery period after C-section

The recovery period for both C-section and vaginal birth is almost the same. There may be pain in the body because of the stitches but otherwise caesarean mothers are not advised anything special. The postoperative care in the first six weeks after a caesarean delivery is almost the same as in the case of vaginal delivery.

5. C-section leaves scars

The scars remain but they are right below the belly so they are hardly visible. It generally does not cause any kind of impairment unless it gets infected but that is very rare.

6. Can you breastfeed after C-section?

World Health Organisation (WHO) advises that mothers should start breastfeeding their baby within an hour of their birth. So, as soon as the baby is out, he or she is put on to the mother’s chest. The nurse helps the mother hold the baby and she starts breastfeeding immediately.

7. Does C-section make you any “less of a mother”?

Being a mother is not connected to any form of birth, be it vaginal or caesarean. A woman is still a mother when she adopts a child. Being a mother is much more than just delivering a child.

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