It was in the news recently that the great number of elective C-sections was significantly changing the human evolution as people, whose genealogy nature had brutally decided was too weak to be perpetuated for varied reasons, were now reproducing.
First, they can escape the bane of infertility via assisted reproductive techniques and if natural labour is going to be an issue or, as in the case of elective C-sections, they don’t even wait to find out, they have a C-section and voila, they are mommas and daddies, all thanks to the innovations of medical science.
And this situation is causing sleepless nights for some scientists…but here is the reality.
My friend’s five month old baby was very big in utero, and for close to a week, before she opted for an elective caesarean section, she was in pain and she was in the hospital, putting everyone in some sort of panic.
Her husband closed from the hospital every night and resumed there in the morning, before heading for his day’s job. Their pastors were praying and so were the few people who knew she was in the hospital. It’s not exactly the type of news you broadcast. Apart from the one time that I went to see her in the hospital, I never went again. I couldn’t stand the whole drama and I kept wondering whether it wouldn’t spoil her experience of childbirth, considering it was her first time.
Interestingly, her husband was more traumatised by the experience than she was. Her baby is just five months old, but she’s already talking about a second baby and she would jokingly add that she has been ready for another baby since she had her daughter, but that her husband is the one who isn’t ready, and sometimes, she would even say he is afraid.
And I don’t blame him. Those weeks were really tense ones, and theirs is an intertribal marriage, between ethnic groups that already suspect each other. If (God forbid) anything had happened to my friend, I don’t think some people would remember that they were Christians, or that they were married, or that he had shown, over time, that he truly cares about his wife.
So, for the sake of cases like this and more, elective surgery and induction is very welcome.
Even more recently, I met a young lady who had an out-of-utero pregnancy and it wasn’t discovered while pregnant, until she was long overdue, and then an induction was done, which resulted in a three day-labour.
It was on the third day that the doctor demanded that a scan be done, which revealed the baby wasn’t growing in the womb but outside of it, so there was no way she could have birthed that baby vaginally.
She ended up going under the knife, and that was what saved her life and that of the baby.
Before it got to this stage, she had been pregnant for close to 42 weeks. Okay, I should add that she had tried to abort the child, but that baby refused to be aborted.
Yet again, these two procedures saved a life.
However, no matter how life saving C-sections and induced labours are, they still come with risks to both mother and child. I know about the risks to the babies very well, as I had both premature and full term babies and their early lives are markedly different; from the number of days we had to spend in the hospital to their birth weight. There were clear differences.
And often times, that’s the case with elective C-sections and inductions, babies are often ejected, before they give the signal they are ready to come.
What have been discovered is, early-term caesarean sections more than double the chance that a baby would have respiratory distress or need ventilation.
Whereas, elective caesareans and induced labour both lengthen the infant’s hospital stay.
Below are complications and risk of these procedures on the mother. You should however take into consideration the fact that most of the risks listed below are associated with any type of abdominal surgery, which is what a C-section is.
A caesarean birth is accomplished by taking the baby out through an incision in the abdominal wall and uterus rather than through the vagina. Here are some of the risks that come with such a surgery, and also an elective induction, according to the American Pregnancy organisation:
- Infection can occur at your incision site, in the uterus and in other pelvic organs, such as the bladder.
- There is more blood loss with a caesarean delivery than with a vaginal delivery. This can lead to anaemia or require a blood transfusion.
- There’s risk of potential injury to organs, such as the bowel or bladder.
- The amount of time needed for recovery after a C-section can range from weeks to months.
- There is a risk of additional surgeries, such as possible hysterectomy, bladder repair or another caesarean with the next child.
- Elective caesarean delivery increases length of hospital stay by at least 0.6 to 2 days compared with vaginal birth.
- The maternal mortality rate for caesareans is higher than with vaginal births.
- Some women who have had a caesarean report feeling negatively about their birth experience and may have trouble with initial baby bonding.
- The nature of induction like contractions may also be more forceful than natural labour. This can cause your baby to assume or stay in an unfavourable position for labour making labour longer and more painful for the mother.
- It can also increase the need for other interventions as well.
Risks and complications for baby
Mom isn’t the only one at greater risk when a C-section is performed or labour is induced. There are also some risks to your new born. Below are some of them.
- If gestational age is not calculated correctly, a baby delivered by caesarean could be delivered too early and have low birth weight.
- When delivered by caesarean, a baby is more likely to have breathing and respiratory problems.
- Babies born by caesarean are 50 percent more likely to have lower APGAR scores than those born vaginally. Low APGAR scores can be the result of anesthesia, fetal distress before the delivery or lack of stimulation during delivery. APGAR is an evaluation done by doctors on newborns to determine their readiness to meet the world.
- There’s increased risk of abnormal fetal heart rate, shoulder dystocia and other problems with the baby in labour.
- Whatever type of labour induction is done, it can cause the baby to react in a manner that is called fetal distress as seen by fetal monitoring.
- Induced labour increases risks to the baby of prematurity and jaundice.
- Induction can be done before your baby is ready to be born, because your due date is off or because your baby simply needed more time in the womb to grow and mature their lungs.
- Your baby may also be more likely to suffer from jaundice at or near birth because of the induction. This can lead to other medical treatments as well as stays in the hospital for your baby.
Those are some of the risks and complications that may arise for both mother and child with either an elective caesarean section or an elective induction.
As they say, knowledge is power.
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