Last updated on Jun 11th, 2021 at 12:36 pm

The idea of going through labour pains can be frightening to mothers to be. Women read and hear about the different natural birth and c-section experiences and that can be daunting. Cesarean section delivery dates back some centuries and was performed when it was risky to have natural delivery, now, more and more women request to have c-section deliveries even when a baby could have been delivered naturally.

In an era where there are options and choices, it is vital that when deciding, one makes an informed choice. Bestmed’s Dr Elsabe Hammanm, has compiled a list of c-facts to help pregnant women learn what’s in store for them:

C-fact 1

You can time it perfectly – but is it the perfect time? What can be more perfect timing other than your body and your baby being ready – rather than your doctor, your family or your work?

C-fact 2

It’s not quick. It takes at least three hours from pre-op to back in your room. And you will be expected to book in several hours before the procedure. You can expect a longer hospital stay: four days on average, compared to two to three days for a natural birth.

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C-fact 3

It’s not all easy. Compared to natural delivery, the 45 minutes for actual delivery is easy. But a c-section is a major operation. It requires recuperation and wound care for the next couple of weeks, just like after any other similar operation… on top of having to take care of your baby.

C-fact 4

It’s not pain-free. The delivery itself is pain-free but when the anaesthesia wears off, c-section women experience far more pain for far longer than natural birth mothers. They need more pain relief for longer, too.

C-fact 5

It puts both baby and mother at risk, as it is a major abdominal procedure, which involves cutting through the skin, abdomen, muscle and then into the uterus, carrying with it all the risk of an incision near the bladder and bowels.

C-sections lead to more blood loss – on average a 1 000 ml compared to 600 ml with a natural birth. Infection after surgery is more likely. Around 40% of women who have three or more C-sections experience complications like infection or severe bleeding.

C-fact 6

Your baby misses out on stimulation. The birth canal initiates important physiological processes, such as stimulating your baby to take her first breath and being colonised by the right gut microflora, which plays a major role in the development of immunity and digestion.

None of these happen during a c-section.

BUT, having said that

Most moms and babies do well after a C-section. However, if you compare a successful natural birth and a successful c-section, a natural birth is still far safer. Therefore, it is best to reserve c-sections for when there is a real risk.