How you welcome your baby into the world is a totally personal choice just for you. Of course there will be certain risks and medical conditions you may have to take into account but ultimately it’s your call. If you’re in the boat of trying to decide what’s best for you and your baby and are thinking that a C-Section might be the best option, read on for all the details on choosing Plan C..
What is a planned C-section?
A planned Caesarean section (C-section) is where you elect to give birth via the abdomen rather than a vaginal delivery. It’s usually scheduled in advance rather than being performed as an emergency procedure during labour. Around 16% of all births are performed via a planned C-section.
Who might elect a C-section?
There are many reasons why you might choose to have a C-section (and it’s never because you’re too posh to push). Here are some of the most common reasons why you might choose Plan C:
- Medical indications: Some medical conditions, such as placenta praevia (when the placenta covers the cervix), breech presentation (when the baby is positioned feet or buttocks first), or certain maternal health issues, may make a vaginal birth riskier than a C-section.
- Previous C-section delivery: If you’ve had a previous C-section you may choose to have a planned C-section again rather than attempting a VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section).
- Personal preference: A planned C-section might be best for you if you are anxious about a vaginal birth, had a previous traumatic experience or just want a more planned birth experience.
What are the benefits of a planned C-section?
Some potential benefits of a planned C-section include:
- Reduced risk of certain birth complications: In some cases, a planned C-section can help reduce the likelihood of birth-related complications for both you and the baby. If you have a previous C-section scar that might be at risk of uterine rupture, or certain medical conditions that make pushing during labour dangerous, a C-section may be recommended.
- Scheduling and predictability: With a planned C-section, the birth date and time can be scheduled in advance. This allows you to prepare mentally and practically for the delivery. This can be really useful if you prefer to plan ahead and want a structured birth experience .
- Avoiding a prolonged labour: For some women, labour can be prolonged and exhausting. A planned C-section can help to avoid uncertainty and an extended labour process, leading to a quicker delivery.
- Reducing the risk of pelvic floor problems: Vaginal birth can sometimes lead to pelvic floor issues, such as urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. A planned C-section might help to reduce the risk of these complications, especially if you were injured following a previous vaginal delivery.
- Psychological benefits: Some women can find the prospect of labour and a vaginal delivery very scary and overwhelming. A planned C-section might provide emotional relief and a sense of control over the birth experience.
Although a planned C-section may have its benefits, it’s important not to forget that it is still a major operation which carries its own set of risks and potential complications. Discuss your options with your midwife and medical team so you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.
How is a planned C-section different to an unplanned C-section?
In both types of C-sections, the procedure involves an incision being made in the abdomen and uterus to deliver the baby. Whilst the procedures are essentially the same, a planned C-section is usually performed in less speedy and stressful circumstances.
The decision to have a planned C-section is typically made during your antenatal visits, and you will be given a date and time for the birth. A planned C-section is usually carried out in the 39th week of pregnancy. Planning your birth in this way allows for more preparation, discussion, and consideration of the yours and your baby’s health before the surgery. It also means you have more time to consider how you want to make it special for you, such as lighting or music.
An unplanned C-section, on the other hand, is carried out in urgent circumstances with not very much time to prepare. It can be necessary if there are sudden complications endangering the health of you or the baby. The surgical team acts swiftly and the procedure may be done with a lot more urgency compared to a planned C-section. It can still be just as special as a planned C-section (but with a little more speed!)
What’s the recovery like after a planned C-section compared to an unplanned C-section?
Although individual experiences will vary, in general, the recovery from a planned C-section can be easier compared to an unplanned C-section. Here’s why:
- Controlled and prepared environment: In a planned C-section, the surgical team has more time to prepare for the procedure. This can lead to a more controlled and organised environment. This may result in fewer complications during the surgery and potentially a smoother recovery process.
- Less physical stress: An unplanned C-section is typically performed due to urgent medical concerns, such as baby becoming distressed or sudden complications during labour. This means you might already be physically exhausted from contractions or stressed before the surgery, which can have an impact on recovery.
- Reduced trauma: Unplanned C-sections are often performed quickly, and there may be more force involved during the procedure to ensure the baby’s safety. A planned C-section, on the other hand, allows for a more deliberate and gentle approach.
- Better pain management: With a planned C-section, there may be more time to discuss and plan pain management strategies for the post-surgery period, which can help improve comfort during recovery.
- Emotional preparedness: Having a planned C-section has the advantage of knowing the birth date in advance, which can help you mentally prepare for the surgery and the recovery process.
Regardless of whether a C-section is planned or unplanned, the post-surgery care and support from healthcare professionals and family are essential for a smoother recovery. You should always follow the post-surgery instructions, take appropriate rest, and seek medical advice if you have any concerns or issues during the recovery period. To learn more about the recovery process after a C-section, check out this article here.
Ultimately, the decision about the mode of delivering your baby should be yours to make. If you are considering a planned C-section, have an open and honest conversation with your midwife to fully understand the potential benefits, risks, and implications of this choice in your specific situation. They can provide you with personalised guidance and help you make an informed decision about your birth plan.
Birthbabe does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The resources on our website are provided for informational purposes only. You should always consult with a healthcare professional regarding any medical diagnoses or treatment options.