Faridah Mbabazi is a mother of two healthy babies. She gave birth to her first born naturally. Despite the urge to go for the ‘stylish’ caesarean section, the doctor insisted that Mbabazi was in position to give birth naturally. Indeed, she did, but she didn’t know this was going to be an issue until her friends visited her at hospital.
“Oh my God! What? You pushed?” exclaimed Jackie, her Friend. “I can’t believe Mbabazi pushed, in this age; which girl still goes through the pain of pushing?” chipped in another friend.
“I know the doctor insisted, had to take his advice,” Mbabazi tried to answer the friends almost appearing guilty for not having used the C-section. Mbabazi’s urge to avoid natural birth and the reaction of her friends is just an indicator of the bigger picture. Medical personnel say they see more and younger mothers opting for the C section.
Why natural birth is better
It took Mbabazi three weeks to get back to her normal life after the natural delivery of her first child. However, when she was due to deliver her second born, Mbabazi insisted on the C-section and her wish was granted. But it took her seven months to heal from the stitches. She said she would never prefer C-section again.
“I have gone through the two options. I would prefer pushing. To me the more the pain I got when pushing my first child, the more the love I have for him. The C-section was a terrible experience. I was confined at home for months,” Mbabazi said.
The dot-com woman
Women today even without any complications opt for caesarean section as many cannot stand labour pain that comes with pushing. Young corporates say pushing is not sexy.
“Caesarean section is less painful since I didn’t have to go through labour pains. Why bother go through the process of pushing when I can have a planned C-section?” Sharon Musimenta, a mother of three in Kanombe, asks.
She says many women prefer caesarean section because by the time it comes one is ready and have planned for it.
“I always wanted to give birth naturally but when I went for scan, the doctor told me that the baby had an umbilical code around the neck. This created fear in me since I was a first time mother and I wanted to save the baby. I thought there was no choice apart from C-section but after I learnt that I could also give birth naturally even if the baby had that complication,” explained Harriet Kobusingye However, doctors say the nature of C-section where there is no physical exertion of labour, no sweat and tears, attracts the young who just want to walk in be cut and have a baby.
“I guess it’s sort of a quick fix to child birth for the doctor, (cut her open, get the baby, and sew her up),” said Dr Alex Ngoga.
Medics insist that the caesarean section should be avoided if it is not a must. Many women prefer cesarian due to the psychological hallmarks of the pregnancy, anxiety and birth experience. There is also the fear of the unknown in terms of coping with the challenges of labour and new motherhood.
However, doctors say babies born naturally are at a lower risk of getting serious childhood diseases such as asthma, diabetes, and allergies and are less likely to become obese. Researchers think these benefits have to do with healthy bacteria babies are exposed to during natural birth.
The Rwanda Association of Midwives and Nurses advises expectant women to find out about the significant long and short term risks associated with the C-section delivery. The risks include hemorrhage, infections, injury to blood vessels and organs such as the bladder.
A C-section may also cause problems for babies, such as breathing difficulties that need treatment in incubators.
Recovering after a C-section is also more difficult than after a normal birth and there may be long term pain at the incision site, internal scar tissue which may cause problems with the placenta in a subsequent pregnancy.