Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Archive for the ‘risks of caesarean’ Category

Last night I watched Louise Redknapp’s documentary entitled “The truth about super skinny pregnancies” – wow … what a sad world we live in.  Women and, in particular, celebrities seem to be obsessed about maintaining an unnatural body shape.  Redknapp tried hard but, in my opinion, failed to make a balanced documentary and planned an underwear shoot nine weeks after giving birth to her second baby.  Indeed she even managed to leave her young baby to go to the USA to film the documentary!

According to one expert, as many as one in 20 women could be putting their unborn child’s health at risk by extreme dieting during pregnancy – so-called “pregorexia” – what message are “celebrities” sending to our pregnant women?  In the programme Louise met one woman who, despite being two weeks away from giving birth, had put on just eight and a half pounds – apparently only eating one apple every two days.   As I have said before, it is true that the baby will take what it needs from the mother, but what state will the mother be in?  She may well suffer complications of pregnancy or childbirth and may well not be healthy enough to feed and care for her baby.

So many “celebrities”, Redknapp included, opt for caesarean sections (obviously I don’t know her reasons) which are so much riskier for both mother and baby.  Our caesarean section rate is over 25% in many maternity units, partly fuelled by women requesting them on “social” grounds.

The NHS website details the risks of caesarean as:

  • infection of the wound,
  • inflammation of the membrane lining your uterus known as endometritis, this can cause fever, uterine pain and abnormal vaginal discharge, which can be treated with antibiotics,
  • decreased bowel functions the surgery may mean your waste material moves slowly through your intestines, leading to constipation,
  • thrombosis (clot) formation in your legs, which can be dangerous if part of the clot breaks off and lodges in the lungs,
  • excess bleeding, and
  • temporary problems with bladder control, or damage to your bladder
  • the major risk for your baby is that it may be affected by temporary breathing difficulties. Directly after the birth, and in the first few days of your baby’s life they may breathe abnormally fast; this is called transient tachypnea, admissions to special care are more common following caesarean sections
  • there are additional risks and complications for women who have multiple caesarean sections

There is also a very small risk of death during a delivery for both you and your baby.  This risk is three times greater for a caesarean section than for a vaginal delivery.

It goes on to say that, it is important to remember that this procedure has saved the lives of many women and babies over the years. Where a danger to health has been identified, the risks of a caesarean section are usually far outweighed by the risks of not doing it, particularly in an emergency situation, and I wholeheartedly endorse this.  I am not writing this to scare anyone.  Caesarean sections are incredibly safe, BUT they are much more risky than a normal birth, and recovery time is generally so much quicker following a vaginal birth.

It is true that your body will be different after a pregnancy, but what price to pay for a beautiful baby?  I believe that body changes are a mother’s “badge of honour” – we should be proud of our bodies, stretch marks and all!