Since sharing my birth story a few months ago, it sparked conversation with other mamas who also, voluntarily or involuntarily, had a c-section delivery. Even though my gut feeling was that we’d end up having one, I hadn’t done much research into how it all works or what the healing & recovery period would be like.
There are really only two ways to deliver a baby: Vaginal or surgical Caesarean section. If you’re a mama-to-be wondering what your options are or generally curious about all of this, here are a few pros and cons to having a c-section delivery:
CON: It is a major surgery
The whole process was overwhelming for me. From the moment they told me that they’d have to perform a c-section, to wheeling me into a surgical room + getting ready for it, operating on me while I was super delusional on drugs…all the way through to the recovery period. It felt like a never-ending thing! When you are most tired and vulnerable, they require you to stay at the hospital longer to ensure everything with you and baby is okay… which is the LAST place you want to be!
To add, while it is a fairly safe medical procedure, there can certainly be complications before, during or after that you may not be aware of. I recommend talking to your healthcare provider about the options and risks involved that may affect you and your baby.
PRO: It requires you to rest so that you can heal
My husband and parents immediately became involved and helped me with everything. Not to say that they wouldn’t have if I had a vaginal birth, but the doctor’s instructions are specifically to do as little as possible which meant that I got to take lots of rest breaks, nap whenever I could and try not to walk or go up/down the stairs as much.
Fun fact: we were at the hospital with baby for two nights and I didn’t change a single diaper — I was barely able to move, everything was SO painful! All the diapers were changed by James, my mom and mom-in-law.
Because I needed the rest in order to heal and James needed it to be functional at work (haha), we came up with an awesome plan to share night-time feed & diaper duty by taking turns.
Here is a quick night-time schedule we swore by in case this might help you:
- Zak’s bedtime: 8:00 PM
- Our bedtime + dream feed: 11:00 PM
- Anum to tend to Zak if he wakes up between 11:00 PM – 4:00 AM (James’ time for uninterrupted sleep)
- James to tend to Zak if he wakes up between 4:00 AM – 7:00 AM (Anum’s time for uninterrupted sleep)
- Everyone wakes up around 7 AM, and since I’m home with Zak, if at any point I need to take a nap I take one with him (although this is way harder than everyone makes it out to be… so much to do while baby naps!)
CON: You’re left with a scar/incision
This could be seen as a positive or negative thing. I wear my scar with pride and absolutely love that it gave my my baby! However, I’ve definitely heard from some mamas about the incision not healing properly, it being too big or an eye sore, multiple c-section scars, etc. which can have a negative impact on you.
Fortunately there are oils, creams, remedies that may help the incision fade or disappear completely.
PRO: You don’t have all the vaginal pain & healing to go through
That was my worst nightmare! I’m a wuss when it comes to pain tolerance so I was always terrified of vaginal birth (I’ve asked my girlfriends for EVERY LITTLE detail if they remember it). Now having gone through c-section pain + recovery, I somehow still believe that pain from vaginal birth, the tear, stitches, etc. might be worse.
CON: You may feel judgment or fomo
When I was just shy of 10 weeks PP, I went to a mama fitness class where the instructor asked me questions about the birth & recovery, and as soon as I told her it was by c-section, her tone changed and she said, “Oh, it wasn’t natural? No problem we can work on this….”
Granted I was extremely hormonal and just getting back into social life, nothing offends me more. My baby’s birth is natural to me, it doesn’t matter how it was done. He is a human, with 10 fingers, 10 toes, a beautiful heart… he wouldn’t have been any different with a vaginal delivery!
The other thing that I feel sometimes is fomo. I don’t have a story about how my water broke in the middle of the night, what it was like to push a baby, didn’t get to see my placenta, the cooling sensation of padsicles and icing your privates when you’re sore.
PRO: You can schedule a c-section and plan around it
If the idea of surprise labour scares you and you’re more of a planner, you might want to consider scheduling a c-section delivery with your provider!
For us, I knew that we’d need to deliver our baby basically as soon as I was full-term due to pregnancy complications, and although that meant speeding up our ‘nesting’ and getting ready for baby quicker, it was great that we knew when we needed to be at the hospital to begin the labour/delivery process! We ended up having an emergency c-section but if we plan to have a second baby, we’ll likely choose the option of a c-section and pick our date in advance if our provider allows for this. I’m super a-type so surprises kind of scare me!
I am sure there are many other advantages and disadvantages to c-section delivery, but I can tell you that even though I had to go through this major abdominal surgery (unplanned), I love our birth story and would do it again in a heartbeat because it gave me my little munch!
Photos by Melissa Marques