When an expectant mom needs to have a Caesarean
Posted on 6 February 2013
You may have your heart set on natural childbirth but sometimes a Caesarean section is your safest bet. What happens if a C-section is your only option?
Meet our expert, Dr Francis Elemva, gynaecologist and obstetrician, Mediclinic Sandton. ‘I developed a passion for obstetrics while I was doing my internship in a rural hospital,’ says Dr Elemva. ‘I wanted to make taking care of pregnant women and assisting during birth my everyday work and I have never looked back. I have very little time to relax. I like playing with my two sons, going to restaurants or watching home movies or soccer on TV.’
I am 32 weeks pregnant and would really like to give birth naturally. Under what circumstances would I need a Caesarean section?
Generally speaking you would only need a Caesarean if natural birth was likely to put you or your baby at risk. This might be due to something that you are aware of before labour, for example if your baby were lying breech (with its bottom down) or transverse (sideways), or if you had placenta previa and the placenta was blocking the cervix.
What would be the reasons for a Caesarean after labour has begun?
There are a number of reasons you could need a Caesarean after going into labour, for example if:
• your cervix stopped dilating.
• your baby’s heart rate were cause for concern.
• the umbilical cord had slipped through your cervix and could cut off the baby’s oxygen supply.
• your placenta starts to separate from the uterine wall.
It’s hard to give up on a natural birth plan, but if you or your baby are at risk, it’s a route you will probably want to take.
If I had to have a Caesarean section, would I still be able to have natural birth again after that?
Yes, you could, however, many doctors still believe that a second Caesarean is the safest route. Very often in the private sector we choose not to opt for a VBAC (vaginal birth after Caesarean) because if something goes wrong and you need an emergency Caesarean for a suspected uterine rupture, it takes time to assemble the necessary team, including an anaesthetist and paediatrician, and a few minutes delay can be fatal to your baby and you.
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