Knowledge Update

Caesarean Section; A Blessing not a Curse

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The desire of every woman is to deliver her baby without a hitch. Many decades ago, the most preferred delivery option for most women was vaginal delivery (VD). During this period, a number of women had their babies at home with traditional birth attendants, but quite often with difficult or prolonged labor and sometimes maternal death.  In recent years, a lot of babies have been delivered successfully through caesarean section.  Some women in developing countries still perceive the caesarean section as a curse of an unfaithful woman (Adeoye & Kalu, 2011). It was also seen as the fate of weak women.

A caesarean section (CS) is a surgical procedure, that is performed whenever abnormal conditions complicate labor and vaginal delivery, threatening the life of the mother or the baby. It is a form of abdominal surgery that is performed to deliver a baby through an incision made in the abdomen. A caesarean section may be planned in cases where it becomes evident during pregnancy that the procedure will be necessary or it may be performed as an emergency intervention.

In the work of Smith et al. (2008), caesarean section (CS) is conceived as a form of birth that is not natural’, a major abdominal surgery requiring an operating theatre. Caesarean deliveries were initially performed to save the fetus of a moribund patient. This operation later developed into a surgical procedure to resolve maternal or fetal complications not amenable to vaginal delivery. Caesarean delivery has evolved from a vain attempt performed to save the fetus to one in which physician and patient both participate in the decision-making process for the benefit of a mother and her unborn child.

Series of conditions such as cephalopelvic disproportion, fetal distress, previous Caesarean section, failed induction, previous reconstructive vaginal surgery, abnormal presentation, multiple gestation, macrosomic baby, fetal abnormality, obstructive pelvic tumour, vulva herpes, several preeclampsia with unfavourable cervix, major placenta praevia and so on necessitates caesarean section according to Jaiyesimi and Ojo (2003).

Benefits of Caesarian Section

The benefits of caesarian section for the mother and the baby include the following:

  1. Low risk of severe bleeding after the delivery
  2. Reduced risk of urinary stress and no injury to the vagina
  3. Less painful delivery process due to the influence of anaesthetic.
  4. Reduced risk of physical and psychological injury to the baby.
  5. It is a rescue operation for the baby where vagina delivery is not possible.
  6. Caesarean section allows a woman and her husband to know the date and time of delivery. They can as well choose a preferable date of delivery of their baby.

 

Avoidable Challenges of Caesarian Section

Women who have a caesarean section can avoid the following challenges provided they patronize qualified professionals:

  1. Accidental surgical cuts to internal organs especially with inexperienced health professionals
  2. Infection
  3. Emergency hysterectomy
  4. Complications from anesthesia
  5. Negative psychological consequences of an unplanned caesarean section.

According to Berghella (2021), Infants delivered through caesarean section may be exposed to temporary respiratory problems because the baby is not squeezed through the birth canal. In addition, such babies are not exposed to the normal bacteria in the mother’s vagina which may be beneficial in a number of ways.

Conclusion

Caesarian section saves the life of the mother and baby in most cases, but it is also known to have complications similar to other surgery when an expectant mother fails to seek healthcare in a standard hospital or maternity center. Advances in healthcare, antimicrobial and antithrombotic prophylaxis has greatly improved the safety of caeserian section. Therefore, caesarian section is indeed a blessing, not a curse.

References

Adeoye A and Kalu. D. T (2011). Short History of Medicine, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Berghella, V. (2021) Patient education: C-section (cesarean delivery): Beyond the Basics. Available at https://www.uptodate.com/contents/c-section-cesarean-delivery-beyond-the-basics/print

Jaiyesimi, R. A., and Ojo, O. E. (2003). Caesarean section. In contemporary Obstetrics and Gynecology for developing countries. Okonufua, E. F, and Kunle, O., editor. Nigeria: Women's Health and Action Research Centre; Benin City, 592-619.

Smith, J., F. Plaat, Fisk N.M. (2008). The natural caesarean: a woman-centred technique. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 115, 1037-42.

 

Dr. Ajayi is a Lecturer I at the School of Art, Management and Social Science, Skyline University Nigeria. He bagged a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degree in Sociology at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria.

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