Cesarean awareness month: Don’t fear the cut

April is Caesarean Awareness Month, and while there has been a lot of advancement in surgical techniques, the fear still remains
Beautiful baby girl few minutes after the birth lying on her mother, skin to skin contact (Shutterstock)
Beautiful baby girl few minutes after the birth lying on her mother, skin to skin contact (Shutterstock)
Published on Apr 21, 2022 01:31 PM IST
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ByAbigail Banerji

The constant pushing and pain of birthing a child via normal delivery is almost always considered the ‘true’ birth experience. While gynaecologists advise on having a natural delivery when possible, in case of a complication, opting for a caesarean delivery is a wise choice. As we observe Caesarean Awareness Month in April, doctors bust myths and erase fears regarding the delivery.

Dr Sonal Kumta, senior consultant, obstetrics and gynecology, Fortis Hospital, Mumbai, says, “There are many reasons why a natural birth cannot happen, like complications with the mother, a large baby, cephalopelvic disproportion, two or more caesarean births in the past, placenta previa, abnormal position of the baby or high-risk pregnancy.”

Beautiful baby girl few minutes after the birth lying on her mother, skin to skin contact (Shutterstock)
Beautiful baby girl few minutes after the birth lying on her mother, skin to skin contact (Shutterstock)

There must be open and judgement-free communication with the doctor. Ashwini Sijin, 25, from Kerala had to opt for an emergency c-section as she was bleeding internally and the baby was at risk. While she was concerned at first, her doctor put all her fears to rest. “From the second day after my delivery, I began walking without any support. By the fifth day, I was discharged, and by day six, I was back to normal. Looking at me, people were not even able to believe I had a c-section,” says Sijin.

With the advent of newer antibiotics, better surgical and safe anesthesia techniques, caesarean delivery is a safe surgery. Dr Yashica Gudesar, consultant obstetrician and gynecologist, HCMCT Manipal Hospital, Delhi, says, “But, in certain rare cases, there is a risk of injury to other surrounding organs like the bladder or bowels. But the risk of excessive bleeding is there in both types of births and it is difficult to highlight risk factors exclusively for caesarean deliveries.”

Sunita Bakhru, 57, from Mumbai, had her c-section when the procedure was not as common. She, too, had wanted to go the natural route. “In my opinion, the recovery time is the same as that of a natural birth. People in those days used to say that if you haven’t had a normal delivery, and if you don’t go through that pain during delivery, you are not a real mother. With a caesarean birth, there is as much pain as in a natural birth — with the cut, the stitches and all the care one has to take after the operation,” she shares.

Ghazal, a media professional from Mumbai, has experienced both kinds of deliveries. “While I’d heard that the latter is less painful, I realised how excruciating the pain was as soon as the effect of the anesthesia subsided. The pain I felt at the time of the normal delivery seemed way lesser, somehow. But despite the pain, I feel having a c-section was like a source of oxytocin for me. Seeing your baby come out of you and kissing him immediately felt magical. The pain I felt later was nothing compared to the joy of that moment,” she shares.

The important thing with any pregnancy is to follow a healthy routine with regular exercise, nutritious food, regular antenatal check-ups and preconception counselling. Both Kumta and Gudesar agree that a woman can resume her routine activities after eight days and start exercising after 6-8 weeks following her delivery. “Women should be confident and try to go back to routine as early as possible,” advises Kumta.

A mix of yoga and physiotherapy is recommended during recovery (Shutterstock)
A mix of yoga and physiotherapy is recommended during recovery (Shutterstock)

Tips for recovery

A mix of yoga and physiotherapy is recommended

Stomach massages and lifting heavy objects should be avoided

It is advised to have a planned diet chart before, during and after pregnancy

One must be in regular touch with their doctors and get into the habit of routine cheque ups even after delivery

Myths

I will gain weight after caesarean delivery: Weight gain is not due to caesarean but due to high-calorie intake and no activity and exercise

I will have backache because of the anesthesia: Spinal anesthesia doesn’t cause backache

I won’t be able to breastfeed after caesarean: Not true

I won’t be able to exercise: You can start normal activities, including a walk, after eight days and abdominal exercise six-to-eight weeks after the surgery

Caesarean-born babies are weaker: With the advancement of medical technology, the rates of maternal and fatal mortality have decreased substantially. It is important to focus on factors like lifestyle modifications, instead of comparison between the types of delivery

It is advised to have a planned diet chart before, during and after pregnancy (Shutterstock)
It is advised to have a planned diet chart before, during and after pregnancy (Shutterstock)

Foods to eat after operation:

Iron-rich foods like spinach and quinoa

Calcium-rich foods like chickpeas, soybean and amaranth leaves

Protien-rich foods like chicken, egg, fish, milk and milk products

Dry fruits, pumpkin and sunflower seeds

Vitamin-rich foods like broccoli, melons and strawberries

Yogurt, paneer, soups and broths are also advisable

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Saturday, June 25, 2022