Choosing a C-Section: What Is It and When Is It The Best Option?

A caesarean section, or C-section, is an operation to deliver your baby through a cut made in your tummy and womb.

The cut is usually made across your tummy, just below your bikini line.

A caesarean is a major operation that carries a number of risks, so it’s usually only done if it’s the safest option for you and your baby.

Around one in every four to five pregnant women in the UK has a caesarean.*

Why caesareans are carried out

A caesarean may be recommended as a planned (elective) procedure or done in an emergency if it’s thought a vaginal birth is too risky. They’re usually performed after the 38th week of pregnancy.

A caesarean may be carried out because:

  • your baby is in the breech position (feet first) and your doctor has been unable to turn them by applying gentle pressure to your tummy, or you would prefer they didn’t try this
  • you have a low-lying placenta  (placenta praevia)
  • you have pregnancy-related high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia)
  • you have certain infections, such as a first genital herpes infection occurring late in pregnancy or untreated HIV
  • your baby isn’t getting enough oxygen and nutrients – sometimes this may mean the baby needs to be delivered immediately
  • your labour isn’t progressing or there’s excessive vaginal bleeding

If there’s time to plan the procedure, your midwife or doctor will discuss the benefits and risks of a caesarean compared with a vaginal birth.

Asking for a caesarean

Some women choose to have a caesarean for non-medical reasons. If you ask your midwife or doctor for a caesarean when there aren’t medical reasons, they will explain the overall benefits and risks of a caesarean compared with a vaginal birth.

If you’re anxious about giving birth, you should be offered the chance to discuss your anxiety with a healthcare professional who can offer support during your pregnancy and labour.

If after discussion and support you still feel that a vaginal birth isn’t an acceptable option, you’re entitled to have a planned caesarean.

What happens during a caesarean

Most caesareans are carried out under spinal or epidural anaesthetic. This mean you’ll be awake, but the lower part of your body is numbed so you won’t feel any pain.

During the procedure:

  • a screen is placed across your body so you can’t see what’s being done – the doctors and nurses will let you know what’s happening
  • a cut about 10-20cm long will usually be made across your lower tummy and womb so your baby can be delivered
  • you may feel some tugging and pulling during the procedure
  • you and you birth partner will be able to see and hold your baby as soon as they’ve been delivered

The whole operation normally takes about 40-50 minutes.

Occasionally a general anaesthetic, where you’re asleep, may be used, particularly if the baby needs to be delivered more quickly.

Read more about how a caesarean is carried out.

Recovering from a caesarean

Recovering from a caesarean usually takes longer than recovering from a vaginal delivery. You might need to stay in hospital for three or four days, compared with one or two days for a vaginal birth.

You may experience some discomfort in your tummy for the first few days, and you’ll be offered painkillers to help with this.

When you go home, you’ll need to take things easy at first. You may need to avoid some activities such as driving for six weeks or so.

The wound in your tummy will eventually form a scar. This may be red and obvious at first, but it should fade with time and will often be hidden in your pubic hair.

Read more about recovering from a caesarean.

Risks of a caesarean

A caesarean is generally a very safe procedure, but like any type of surgery it carries a certain amount of risk.

It’s important to be aware of the possible complications, particularly if you’re considering having a caesarean for non-medical reasons.

Possible complications include:

  • infection of the wound or womb lining
  • blood clots
  • excessive bleeding
  • damage to nearby areas, such as the bladder or the tubes that connect the kidneys and bladder (ureter)
  • temporary breathing difficulties in your baby
  • accidentally cutting your baby when your womb is opened

Read more about the risks of a caesarean.

Future pregnancies after a caesarean

If you have a baby by caesarean, it doesn’t necessarily mean that any babies you have in the future will also have to be delivered this way.

Most women who have had a caesarean section can safely have a vaginal delivery for their next baby, known as vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC).

However, you may need some extra monitoring during labour just to make sure everything is progressing well.

Some women may be advised to have another caesarean if they have another baby. This depends on whether a caesarean is still the safest option for them and their baby.

For more information, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has a leaflet on birth options after previous caesarean section (PDF, 357kb).

Editor’s Note: *clarification provided for our US readers.

*1 in 3 pregnant women in the U.S. has a caesarean

 





Child Health & Safety News 11/27: App Helps Parents ID Sexting

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: Unprecedented Canada-wide movement to improve pediatric cancer treatment bit.ly/2mW7Q2B

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we overlook something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed.  Still, quite a bit happens every day – so to make sure you don’t miss anything, we offer you a recap of this week’s top 20 events & stories.

  • Click It or Ticket! Illinois State Police to conduct safety belt patrols bit.ly/2n44la6 2017-11-26
  • This Amazing Program Offers Parents Mental Health Checkups During Routine Child Visits bit.ly/2mVg7DJ 2017-11-26
  • Getting Your Kids Ready for Thanksgiving: Table Manners, Gratitude and Appreciation, Ask Doctor G bit.ly/2jjJZ7F 2017-11-25
  • A Teen Killed Herself After Being Tormented By Rumors That An Ex Had Shared Intimate Photos Of Her bzfd.it/2zsZtS1 2017-11-25
  • 5 Tips for a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving bit.ly/2hLSt7u 2017-11-24
  • 11 Ideas for Teaching Your Kids to Be Inclusive bit.ly/2zp1qP4how to avoid raising a child that excludes others… 2017-11-24
  • Check out the latest issue of the Kids Who Care newsletter! getrevue.co/profile/pediat…  2017-11-24

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week:
New app helps parents figure out if their kids are sexting on.mash.to/2zlLpJR

  • Why are we always ready to nap after eating our Thanksgiving meal? kng5.tv/2zw7llE hint – it’s not just the tryptophan in the turkey 2017-11-23
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Ranks Child Booster Seats cbsloc.al/2A0DsGY 2017-11-23
  • This Holiday Season, Ask Yourself – Am I Raising a Spoiled Child? – Thurs Time Capsule  bit.ly/2mD9c1K  2017-11-23
  • Want motivated students? Let kids create cognitive-exercise patterns + teach others   2017-11-22
  • Safe Kids: Tips for kitchen safety during the holiday season bit.ly/2isr62S 2017-11-22
  • Flying safely with kids bit.ly/2zfDAFy 2017-11-22
  • Saturday Take The Kids To See COCO, It’s Sensory Friendly at AMC zpr.io/nGjFs 2017-11-22
  • Things You Can Do to Improve Your Child’s Mental Health bit.ly/2hBzrjO 2017-11-21
  • Did 11-month-old baby die from marijuana overdose? Doctors debate claim – marijuana not previously linked to fatal overdoses  nbcnews.to/2zchP9J  2017-11-21
    OK Health department cuts will cost millions for clinics helping uninsured patients bit.ly/2itpBBq
  • Talking With Your Child’s Cancer-Care Team bit.ly/2zN8FPS helpful information from the American Cancer Society 2017-11-20
  •  Caution! Beware of Snowmobiles with Kids. As Risky as ATV’s zpr.io/nfQrc 2017-11-20

Sensory Friendly Screening of Justice League, Tomorrow at AMC

AMC Entertainment (AMC) has expanded their Sensory Friendly Films program in partnership with the Autism Society. This Tuesday evening, families affected by autism or other special needs have the opportunity to view a sensory friendly screening of Justice League, a film that may appeal to older audiences on the autism spectrum.

As always, the movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

AMC and the Autism Society will be showing Justice League sensory friendly tomorrow, Tuesday, November 28th at 7pm (local time). Tickets can be as low as $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming in December: Coco (Sat 12/9); Wonder (Tues 12/12); Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Sat 12/23) and (Tues 12/26)

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Editor’s note: Justice League has been chosen by AMC and the Autism Society for a Tuesday Sensory Friendly “Mature Audience” screening. Parents should be advised that it is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for sequences of sci-fi violence and action.  As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

Anxiety and Depression in Children: 5 Warning Signs to Watch For

Winter is approaching fast and along with it, cold wet weather and the usual assortment of colds and cold weather maladies.  By now your children should have already received their Flu vaccines.  If not, get that done now; flu season has already begun.  Your child should be well into the school year and the stresses of homework and other school responsibilities are beginning to take their toll.

Anxiety and depression in children are being recognized at a younger and younger age and you should be able to identify symptoms related to these issues. Some researchers claim that up to 6 – 8 % of adolescents are depressed or exhibit anxiety.  Look for unexplained changes in your child’s personality or behavior and a sudden drop in grades.

  1. Has your child always been very social and overtly friendly and now prefers to be alone and do solitary things?   Has he or she been avoiding crowds and acting more isolated?  Has she/she expressed feelings of sadness or disinterest in activities in which she/he was very interested for some time?  Has your child expressed feelings of loneliness or poor self-esteem?
  2. Have you been monitoring his/her use of social media (this should be a constant for you) and find his/her interests have changed dramatically?
  3. Has your child become more secretive and more prone to destructive or particularly self-destructive behavior?  Always ask them about smoking, alcohol and sexual activity!  This is a difficult conversation to have but is a must in order to monitor your child’s social development.
  4. Is your child sad or more emotional (tough to distinguish between normal adolescent behavior)?  Angry or irritable? Having difficulty sleeping? Is there a change in eating habits? Loss of energy or speaking about death or suicide?
  5. You need to be aware that when a teen talks about suicide there is a significant chance on carrying through on these thoughts and this should be an alarm bell – boys more so than girls. 

Any combination of things mentioned above should be brought to the attention of his/her Doctor as soon as possible.  Occasionally any of these signs can be displayed for short periods of time without definite problems but if they last longer than about 2 weeks and if they seem to be interfering with normal everyday activities, consider them worthy of evaluation. Depression and anxiety can be treated, but ignoring it can lead to further problems as your child gets older.

Raising children in our current social and economic environment is very difficult and with the ease of obtaining drugs/alcohol, it requires constant monitoring and parenting. You are not your child’s friend, you are his/her parent and you should be constantly advising and leading by example.

 

Saturday Take The Kids To See COCO, It’s Sensory Friendly at AMC

New sensory friendly logoSince 2007, AMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other special needs “Sensory Friendly Films” every month – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy fun new films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

Families affected by autism or other special needs can view a sensory friendly screening of Coco on Saturday, November 25th and December 9th at 10am (local time). Tickets are as low as $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Still to come in November: Justice League (Tues 11/28)

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Editor’s note: Although Coco has been chosen by the AMC and the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly Film, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for some thematic elements.  As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

Child Health & Safety News 11/20: Does My Child Need the ER?

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: The risks of crowdsourcing kids’ screen decisions cnn.it/2zAsdH9  a MUST READ if you have young tweens!    bit.ly/2zjt5jz

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we overlook something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed.  Still, quite a bit happens every day – so to make sure you don’t miss anything, we offer you a recap of this week’s top 20 events & stories.

  • These families lost kids to the flu. Now, they’re fighting to prevent more deaths to.pbs.org/2zXaUOC
  • Baby fractures skull after falling through spindles on banister bit.ly/2iwHvn4 Parents are warning others to measure the gap between the spindles! Especially if you have an older house… 2017-11-19
  • ‘Just doing my job’: Trooper saves unresponsive infant on roadside bit.ly/2mzD67c  2017-11-19
  • 9 Kids’ Holiday Gift Safety Tips bit.ly/2mC8GkA from check age appropriateness to watch for button batteries… from Children’s Hospital 2017-11-19
  • New Numbers On Child Labor Are Not Encouraging n.pr/2mK3fjZ1 in 10 kids worldwide are doing work that’s preventing them from getting an education or is damaging their health 2017-11-18
  • One of the hottest toys on the market could be bad for your child’s health bit.ly/2isWmyC Some Fidget Spinners made outside the US contain high levels of lead 2017-11-18
  • Obesity is rising among children and needs a more aggressive multi-pronged approach bit.ly/2isAkMq 2017-11-17

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week:
Life or death decisions – When to take a child to the E.R. bit.ly/2htTIYz

  • Counselling for cyberbullying has doubled in five years – children’s charity bit.ly/2hrmjOr 2017-11-17
  • How to Ensure Your Holiday Dinner Guests Leave Smiling Not Sick zpr.io/nfCVT 2017-11-17
  • Finland minors can block parents from seeing specific medical records (doctors visits, prescriptions, labs, etc.). bit.ly/2ideY5F 2017-11-16
  • No Forced Kisses for Your Kids: A Holiday Safety Tip for Families – Thurs Time Capsule bit.ly/2yvMeiS 2017-11-16
  • While Moore Runs For Senate, Women And Children’s Health Is Under Attack By GOP – Forbes bit.ly/2yYjEqs 2017-11-16
  • 5 Ways to Make Thanksgiving Cooking Safer for Your Family bit.ly/2mig7gF 2017-11-15
  • How a Probation Violation Delayed a Child’s Life-Saving Organ Transplant bit.ly/2hkmBq5  2017-11-15
  • Student Mental Health – How to Get Help When They Need It zpr.io/nfMpS 2017-11-15
  • Dental Sedation Kills 4 Year-Old Who Might Have Been Saved By A Toothbrush  wbur.fm/2mgTM37 …we have to stop treating dental health as something that “can wait” 2017-11-14
  • Gun owners urged to practice good gun safety – especially around children bit.ly/2zw6H6U  2017-11-14
  • bit.ly/2l84JDC 2017-11-13
  • A beautiful piece honoring those who fought to make sure our children grow up free and safe! Thank you Veterans! bit.ly/2mgjIfe 2017-11-13
  • How to Celebrate Your 2017 Holidays with Kids and Pets  bit.ly/2AwtQCM  2017-11-13