Okay, so I should actually put “vaginal” birth in the title but I’m trying to keep the google pervs at bay here.
Over the past few years, elective c-sections have been on the rise. I’m sure you’ve heard the term, “too posh to push” although, I think the term should actually be, “elective c-section with a Hollywood side of tummy tuck so moms in the Midwest feel like crap because they still have a baby paunch two weeks after their babies were born”.
That said, there are many women that opt for a c-section for a number of reasons and being “too posh” isn’t usually one of them. Plenty of women have to go the c-section route for health reasons and for the safety of themselves and their baby.
On the flip side, there are women who really want to have a vaginal birth and are deeply disappointed if they have to have a caesarean.
Here are a couple of pros and cons I found for each “exit”:
- You don’t have to find out if labour is painful
- Your hidey hole stays intact
- You don’t have to worry about the sting of peeing after having the baby
- Less chance of forceps being used or the baby getting stuck
- You post partum bleeding (lochia) may be lighter because it was kind of vacuumed out of you
- You won’t poop during delivery
- Higher risk for infection
- Recovery time is typically a lot longer
- Higher risk of blood clots
- You can only cut into your uterus so many times – if you want more than 2 kids you may be pushing your luck according to some doctors
- You increase your risk of complications in future deliveries regardless of whether you have a c-section or vaginal birth next time
- You have to get drugs, there’s no way around it unless you’re like this woman in Mexico who performed a c-section on herself. Good times.
- It’s major surgery
- You’ll probably have a small scar but unless you’re in the porn industry, it’s unlikely that many people will see it.
- If left up to nature, it’s the exit of choice
- Less risk of infection
- Typically a faster recovery time
- By passing through the birth canal, fluid is squeezed from the baby’s lungs so they are less likely to develop transient tachypnea of the neonate (TTN) which is a temporary lung condition.
- Your baby is exposed to beneficial bacteria in the birth canal which supposedly makes them less likely to develop food allergies and asthma.
- You don’t get kicked in your incision when you’re holding your baby in a carrier
- When you go into labour it seems your body releases a bunch of hormones that drain fluid out of your baby’s organs and helps you recover faster
- You can have as many kids as you want this way and give the Duggars a run for their money
- Labour and delivery may hurt like a mother fucker
- Less predictable – you may luck out and get a quick, painless birth or you might have a 72 hour nightmare.
- Equipment for birth is real close to equipment for going to the bathroom. #!@$.
- Possible urinary incontinence that can last up to three months after giving birth. The jury is still out if vaginal birth can be blamed for leaky pipes down the road.
- Possible tearing and/or episiotomy
No matter what route you take, you’re going to hear both horror and hallelujah stories on both sides – people that have had 147 hour labours with no drugs and fourth-degree lacerations love to corner you at a cocktail party and tell you all about it, and the woman who developed a severe infection from a surgical sponge left in her uterus after a c-section will be right behind her.
You will also have people tell you that they gave birth painlessly with no drugs and would never consider a c-section no matter what the risk, and there are other people who tell you that they would never have a vaginal birth because their husband may not be pleased with their lady tunnel afterward. Er, okay.
Hey, births are like finger prints and snowflakes – no two are alike.
After doing both, I would opt for a vaginal birth if I had to do it again. Even though the good china was completely messed up for a while, I found it to be the easier route. I was terrified with a capital-T about labour and had absolutely no desire to feel any pain and would have happily had an epidural in the parking lot. Thankfully, the labour pains I did experience were manageable and I got my drugs so, all in all, both experiences were pretty darn good.
And at the end of the day, healthy baby and healthy mom are what we’re shooting for. So until they can figure out a way to grow babies like sea monkeys in the bathtub, we’ll just have to settle for the two exits we’ve got and make the best of it.
Did I miss any? I’ll add them to list. What are you hoping for?