What is a Cesarean?
It is an incision made in the mother’s abdomen with the help of cesarean section surgical instrument set to extract a baby that for some reason cannot be born naturally. There are two types of cesarean sections:
- planned cesarean section, planned during pregnancy;
- Emergency or distress cesarean section, performed in cases where labor is not proceeding normally and the health of the mother or baby is compromised.
- a badly placed baby, which presents either by the breech (buttocks or feet down) or transverse (horizontally) in the uterus;
- a very large baby, especially if the mother has a small pelvis;
- a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets), because at least one baby is likely to be badly placed;
- psychological reasons, such as vaginismus (muscle spasms in the vagina that prevent it from contracting);
- The mother, who has already had a cesarean, refuses to give birth naturally. “We encourage vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), but it’s the mother who decides,” says Dr. Fortin.
In some cases, a cesarean is even inevitable:
- A problem with the placenta such as placenta previa (the placenta partially or completely obstructs the cervix), or a placenta that may separate from the uterine wall (causing an emergency cesarean section).
- The mother has a specific medical condition, such as uncontrolled diabetes or a heart problem.
In what situations is an emergency caesarean offered?
During labor, the medical team can decide at any time that the delivery will be by cesarean instead if …
- the baby is struggling with labor and his heart rate suggests that he might lack oxygen;
- the cervix does not dilate or the baby does not descend;
- the umbilical cord obstructs the passage or hinders the baby;
- the baby is badly placed and we cannot turn it;
- The baby or the mother or both are in danger.
Are there ways to prepare your body for the planned Cesarean
Yes. First, we get information by consulting reliable resources. We eat well and we take multivitamins every day to counter the possible anemia after the cesarean section because of the heavier bleeding. Being in good physical shape can help you recover faster.
Do I have the right to request a cesarean?
Officially, in Quebec, elective cesarean section is not an option. Both the Society of Gynecologists and Obstetricians of Canada (SOGC) and the AOGQ have spoken out against this practice. “To date, there is no evidence that a cesarean section is preferable to vaginal birth,” explains Dr. Diane Francoeur, president of the AOGQ and head of the birthing unit at Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal.
In practice, the doctor will first listen to the reasons why a woman requests an elective Caesarean section. “If she asks for a cesarean for fear of giving birth, we discuss it with her. We listen to her fears and reassure her” says Dr. Francoeur. If it is because the cesarean section seems easier, more convenient, the doctor will clearly explain the pros and cons of the procedure.
According to Dr. François Beaudoin, obstetrician-gynecologist at Ste-Justine Hospital, women have little knowledge of the risks associated with cesarean section. “Some people think there is nothing there, even though it is a major intervention during which you open your stomach. You don’t have a caesarean section because it’s fashionable or because you fear having a less satisfying life after a vaginal birth! ”
However, in certain special circumstances, an elective Caesarean may be considered. For example, if a mother has had an extremely difficult first birth and the chances are high that the second will be too difficult, the doctor may agree with her that an elective Caesarean section would be preferable.
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