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Cesarean Section--Is It Necessary?

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My friend's daughter-in-law just delivered a baby boy. I was surprised when my friend told me that her daughter-in-law's physician told her that they were planning to do a cesarean section on her. I asked her why? The answer I got was that since she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes she was considered a candidate for a C-section. I didn't know whether being a diabetic qualifies for having C-section or not, so did some research on my own and this is what I gathered from several obstetricians that I met over here in India where I am staying.

Delivering a baby surgically is what is called a cesarean section. It involves making incisions to the mother's abdominal walls and uterus in order to take the baby out. Normally, vaginal birth is preferred by most people in order to reduce the complications of delivery. The advantages of vaginal delivery outweighs the c-section. Invasive procedures are not involved so the mother and the baby can come home sooner. Recovery for the mother is quick since no stitches or chances of infection are involved. Since the mother is able to walk and do things normally she has chances of getting rid of the extra few pounds she put on during pregnancy. Mother can take care of the baby more efficiently.

C-sections are performed on mothers in emergency situations to save lives of both the babies and them. They are performed by the obstetricians who care for them. Whether a pregnant woman is up for the cesarean is mostly determined by the concerning doctor depending on the conditions listed below:

a. The baby is in a breech or upside down position
b. The baby is in transverse or sideways position in the womb
c. The baby is suspected to have birth defects such as an enlarged head
d. Mother has problems with her placenta (too low on the uterus, or placenta previa)
e. Mother has several medical conditions that include HIV or genital herpes
f. Mother has had previous delivery by C-section although there is no hard and fast rule she cannot deliver the baby by vaginal delivery
g. Mothers with gestational diabetes are candidates for C-section if there is a delay in due dates

Add a Comment4 Comments

I apologize if any of the information is misleading in this article. May be I should have researched about this subject in more detail on my own on internet but I thought I would go straight to the physicians and learn more about it. I am not in anyway experienced in this subject and I appreciate it very much for the comments and will keep in mind to strictly adhere to the research I do online and medical journals rather than going to person to person. I also would like to remind anyone who read this article that I am in India and the medical practices are not the same as in United States. And I accept my mistake and apologize for the same. Thank you for correcting me.

October 22, 2010 - 12:44am
EmpowHER Guest

I think the author tried very hard to research this article, but the subject was new to her and there is just too much to know to get it all right on the first try. This reads sort of like a high school or community college level paper by an earnest hardworking student completely naive to the subject. On that level, good try, B+. Good ending. Good stress on the more difficult recovery after C section.

But there is so much more to know, both about why so many women are having C sections these days, and about gestational diabetes.
Anyone who has a personal need to know more about either or both of these subjects shouldn't stop with this article.
Susan Peterson

September 30, 2010 - 5:40am
EmpowHER Guest

I agree with the first commenter. I too work in the birth field, and I know many women with GD that have birthed their babies normally. The reasons stated in this article are not only incorrect, they are dangerously misleading. My experience with respects to the baby's blood glucose levels are the exact opposite, and I cannot help but wonder if the author misunderstood her source of information on this topic. I'm very disappointed that EmpowHer would publish such a poorly researched article.

September 29, 2010 - 2:20pm
EmpowHER Guest

I'm not sure where you read the information about Gestational Diabetes being a reason for a cesarean section... and you listed several reasons why a cesarean might be/should be done for GD... but those reasons are absolutely *not* reasons to have a surgery to birth your baby.

GD can be and is controlled through diet and exercise during the pregnancy. A great deal is known about how to ensure the mother and baby are kept safe throughout the pregnancy and birth. Just because a woman has GD, she is not doomed to have a cesarean nor should she be at greater risk for having a cesarean just because of the diagnosis.

I'm especially concerned about the remark saying cesareans help the baby's blood glucoses stay normal and are beneficial. This is a reason I've never even heard before! And I've been in birth for 27 years now. Absolutely incorrect. If a mom has wildly fluctuating glucoses, causing problems in the baby, a cesarean does not, in any way, "protect" the baby from the complications of low blood sugars postpartum.

I hope women who read this will do their own research about this topic. If women adhered to all the "reasons" doctors thought we needed cesareans, the cesarean rate would be about 40%-50%. Oh, that's right... IT IS!

September 29, 2010 - 9:00am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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