Every expecting mother understands the value of early preparation. Pregnancy is unpredictable, and soon-to-be mothers are always told to prepare for the unexpected. It is part of the reason why many expecting women now choose elective cesarean birth.
Much like any other surgery, having a c-section whether planned or not is a serious undertaking. However, the World Health Organization estimates that 1/3 of women in the U.S give birth through the cesarean section and half of them do so willingly rather than necessity. Experts have continued to raise concerns about the long-term implications associated with these births.
It begs the question, does being born through caesarean impact your life later?
Why Do Expectant Women Choose C-Section?
C-sections were initially a life-saving surgery an expectant woman had to go through with identified complications with the pregnancy. Several women still go through CS for this reason, but many more choose this elective surgery for different reasons.
When an expecting woman goes for clinical visits as her pregnancy progresses, at some point the topic will come up. The physician may mention it as an option, and some women decide to choose the CS route. EMOG has some great articles from reputed obstetrician on caesarean section delivery recommendation.
Others decide to go for it as a way of having more control over their delivery date. A majority settle for scheduled c-section because they are just afraid of going through vaginal birth.
Regardless of the reason, most women do not fully understand the implications of this decision. Most even believe that the planned surgical birth is much safer than natural vaginal deliveries.
The Primary Risk Associated With CS That Women Do Not Fully Understand
Like with any surgery, the pregnant woman places the fate of her unborn child and herself in the hands of her obstetrician. While every woman would want the best OBGYN delivering her baby, unfortunately, most often do not have control over this. In essence, the level of knowledge and expertise the obstetrician has affects each CS delivery.
For instance, research shows that one out of 50 babies delivered through elective surgery end up with accidental nicks mostly on the face. A scary thought it is, but it does happen more frequently than we care to acknowledge. Click here to read more on the study findings on an analysis of 80 studies involving 30 million births.
Usually, these surgical accidents go back to the obstetrician’s level of expertise in making cesarean incisions. While most babies heal quickly and the Knicks do not leave permanent scars, the Knicks could result in life-long disfigurations, and there have been a few cases of fetal deaths occurring as a result of severe scalpel incisions.
In such instances, a mother who just lost her baby in such a troubling way cannot successfully seek legal redress. Before any surgery, including c-sections, patients have to sign waivers which protects the doctor from lawsuits against such surgical accidents.
Debunking Some Myths About C-Sections
Some of the common myths associated with CS births is that it affects skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby, causes difficulties with breastfeeding, it prevents mothers from having vaginal births in the future, and the recovery period is similar to that of vaginal birth.
The surgical incision might remain tender for weeks after birth, but this should not affect skin-to-skin contact between mother and child. Breastfeeding might take a while to initiate after a CS birth, but breastfeeding is not impossible as commonly thought. Read more on common misconceptions related to caesarean surgery here.
Vaginal birth is possible after c-section, but a trial or labour (TOLAC) test is necessary to determine whether or not to proceed with delivery vaginally.
A CS is a surgical procedure that will require about three to five days for of rest before leaving the hospital. Thereafter, it takes about four weeks to recover completely.
How Does Having Been A CS Baby Affect You Later In Life?
While most babies born through c-section suffer from most from conditions and side effects of the elective surgery during infancy, some of these problems could persist into adulthood.
In the past, before cesarean surgery, most babies with congenital disorders such as having larger than average heads did not make it past delivery. The process influenced genetics because offsprings with these defects did not get the opportunity to reproduce and transfer such conditions to their children. However, after c-section, more babies with congenital disabilities live to have children who transfer the genetic pool to future generations.
Once again, this is a controversial subject, but the high number of CS surgeries have influenced the number of babies with defects surviving post delivery. It means that future generations have to deal with continued rising cases of babies born with congenital disabilities.
Delayed Brain Function
Most women who choose elective c-section do not realize that it could affect their child’s brain functions. Studies conducted by doctors show that CS babies may exhibit symptoms of slow spatial attention referring to a baby’s ability to focus on areas of interest. The belief is that cs affect brain development and the ability to voluntarily concentrate.
The studies do not show conclusive proof that the effects are long-term, but it may be one of the factors that contribute to attention deficit disorders.
Studies also show that people who were born through the elective surgery have higher likelihoods of being overweight. The research indicates that a CS baby is 15% more likely to struggle with adulthood obesity.
The studies reveal that babies delivered through c-section do not get exposure to microbiomes/probiotics that they would receive through vaginal birth.
The microbiomes derived from the birth canal affect intestinal health and metabolism. Given that CS babies do not receive these microbes during the birth process they have become more prone to weight issues.
CS babies are prone to developing several autoimmune disorders including asthma, type I diabetes, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, tissue disorder, inflammatory bowel disorder, and leukemia.
While the reason is not clear, scientists say that surgical intervention plays a role in affecting bowel functions and the immune system. The c-section delivery process might change some environmental factors that influence gene activation and end up sparking these illnesses.
Most of these conditions manifest quite early during infancy and can persist into adulthood.