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The Great Debate - C-Section Versus Natural Childbirth

Jun 14, 2008
This is a relatively new debate. Up until a few years ago the done thing was to go the way nature intended and push like you've never done before. You puff and pant your way through the most excruciating pain of your life, stretch parts of your body that it seems the world and his wife want to look at and then experience the sensation of your body ripping in half to get that tiny soft baby into your arms at last.

If you are a normal woman, you will then find yourself with the dreaded jelly belly. This is like a pouch that hangs over your knickers in a most unsightly manner, white and pasty with stretch marks. Grow to love it girls because unless you are inundated with the money for plastic surgery it's with you for life.

If you're not normal, if you're some oft photographed celebrity, you will have this amazing ability to not suffer a single stretch mark, to look toned and tanned two hours after childbirth and ping back into shape quicker than you can decide on a name for the child. I would like to stress this is not a normal reaction - this is for the strange women that make the rest of us sick.

Whichever species you are, natural childbirth is going to be a difficult time. It will be painful and it will be scary. But at the end of it you will have that beautiful healthy baby in your arms to bond with. And having experienced it three times, I can vouch for the fact that it is definitely true when they say the minute the baby is born the pain is forgotten. At least, that is, until you find you are pregnant again and then it has this cruel way of flooding back to you.

If your childbirth experience culminates in a C-Section it will be a little different. It will probably be scary but your pain will come afterwards. Sometimes bonding is harder as you will have difficulty holding your baby due to your abdominal muscles having been sliced open recently. Recovery time is a lot longer for a c-section than natural childbirth and more women suffer post natal depression after a c-section than those that take the natural route.

There are circumstances that mean a c-section is vital for the good of mother and baby and these should always be listened to. If a baby is in the breach position (bottom first) then a c-section is recommended. If the baby is in distress or showing signs of illness then a c-section will be performed to get the baby out in as quick a time as possible. Sometimes a mother will opt for a natural birth but the labour will be difficult and she will become overly tired - too tired to push. To avoid the risk of the baby becoming stuck in the birth canal a c-section will be carried out. The same applies if you are expecting an overly large baby.

A c-section is often a life saving operation for mother and/or baby. Many years ago the amount of deaths that occurred during childbirth was a great deal higher than it is today and this is thanks to the medical intervention that means a baby can be brought into the world in a swifter, safer fashion.

What has caused concern over recent years is the trend for celebrities to opt for c-sections when there is no need. The 'too posh to push' era was brought about by shallow people who did not want to lose their figure by going through natural childbirth or who didn't want the uncertainty of when their baby would arrive. They would schedule their child's birth around their routine and this is what is considered so wrong.

Childbirth is a distressing time for the baby and should not be forced upon it for no reason other than convenience. It is also a little delusional to think that a c-section helps you to keep your figure. It is pregnancy that does the damage there, not the birth itself. The orifice for extracting a baby has the remarkable ability to spring back into shape much more so than the skin over the stomach. Your doctor will also provide a set of simple exercises that can be performed anywhere, while you are washing up, sitting on the bus, anywhere, that will assist the pelvic floor to a speedy recovery.

Whether you are in the camp of natural childbirth or personal choice of a c-section, the choice should be made on what is best for the baby or the mothers health - not on what will get you back into your jeans the fastest.
About the Author
Parenting expert Catherine Harvey looks at the different methods of childbirth and whether opting for a c-section is easier than natural birth.
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