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Are You Woman Enough ?

May 11
08:42 2019

By Dr. Abigail –
At some point in time you may have heard women having the conversation of child birth and referring to women that have had C-sections to be “less of a woman” for not having done so “Naturally”. The truth is that while some women choose to have an elective C-section a large number of women are subjected to going under the knife due to complications. There is no circumstance that trumps the other when it comes to having a child.
The female anatomy under goes a series of changes from the moment of conception to the point of delivery and your form of delivery most certainly does not exempt or disregard the efforts and changes along the course of your pregnancy!

Maternal physiological attributes are facilitated through the changes and rise in the hormones of pregnancy. The signs of pregnancy are divided into 3 categories: Changes felt by the woman (fatigue, amenorrhea, nausea, vomiting, sensitive breasts, etc.), Changes noted by the examiner (fetal ballottement, Hegar’s sign, positive pregnancy test), and positive presence (fetal heartbeat, palpating movements, visualization of fetus). Your body changes in more ways than imaginable, changes that are out of your control as your body prepares and accommodates new life.

Sometimes these physiological changes provoke pre-existing diseases, while other times the presence of a growing fetus strains the organs and exacerbates hidden diseases. Some mothers develop gestational diabetes, pregnancy induced hypertension, hyperemesis gravidarum, low lying placenta (this causes bleeding throughout the pregnancy), some women experience an incompetent cervix where they are unable to maintain life within the uterus and as the baby grows and weighs down on her cervix she miscarries – this condition requires a surgeon to place a shirodkar suture (sew the cervix close) in an effort to “assist” the mother in reaching a viable gestational age. As women we do not choose the course nor do we determine the outcome of our pregnancies, we bear the burden that each pregnancy brings and pray that our efforts are enough to bring forth a bouncing healthy baby. That’s all that truly matters in the end.

There are many things we take for granted in this life. The gift of bringing forth life is nothing short of a miracle each and every time. We have absolutely NO control over the speed, accuracy nor the gender of the life that develops within. Most women try to be consistent with their clinical visitations, paying keen attention to movement, mindful of the growth, weight gained and adamant about required tests in order to secure that nothing is wrong with their baby. But the reality is, we have no control. We try to detect problems and malformations early and discuss with our primary doctor what interventions can be done (medications, fetal surgeries, etc.).

The gift of life, often comes at a price. The question is always “how big a price will you pay?” When you ask a mother about her labor she often scoffs and say, ” worst pain ever!” but it is often followed by,” but it was all worth it!” or ” I forgot the minute I saw my baby!”. This is a common script for women who have gone through vaginal deliveries. The experience however, is not quite the same for those that subjected themselves to an elective cesarean or were given a cesarean as an emergency procedure. First off, some women complain of pain during the procedure despite having received spinal anesthesia, others complain of pain to their back after being punctured several times in attempts to administer anesthesia, others complain of back pain for years after. In any case, the method of delivery should be decided with your best interest at hand and to facilitate the wonderful experience that it is. Just because you are unable to do one method does not make you any less of a woman.

A lot of first time mothers have the mindset that they don’t want a natural birth. This is probably because they are under the impression that having a cesarean is a lot quicker and that the process is over so quickly that it does not merit a discussion. We’ve lost sight of the true benefits of a natural birth. In essence, the female body was created for natural birth, when mature and not taking in to consideration physique, age and the limitations taken on by the body through inherited diseases and unsuspecting ailments.

Believe it or not the World health organization recommends only a 5-15% C-section rate. Last year our statistics reflected that a total of 7,787 babies were born – 3,059 were C-sections. When we look at the numbers of where we are and where we really ought to be, it begs us to wonder what exactly are we doing wrong or what exactly is happening that justifies such an invasive procedure. Statistics reveal that 39% of reported and documented births are surgically assisted pregnancies! Twice that which is recommended by WHO. Having a baby by elective C-section is indeed a quick fix for most people but have you ever thought about the negative effects it may have on your child? Babies born through a cesarean have less diversified microbions – These children are at a greater risk of developing diseases; When compared to babies of natural birth, they have increased allergies, asthma, type I diabetes and obesity.

Study revealed that C-section children were hospitalized with more frequency due to asthma, inflammatory bowel disorder and other immune system defects. There is also something about the ‘stress’ factor that natural birth produces that activates a child’s immune system. C-section babies are observed with a lower cortisol rate – Cortisol is a hormone mainly released in a time of stress. Having the right amount of cortisol is essential for maintaining health and important for bodily functions. Study also shows that even an unplanned C-section is better than a planned C-section. Children born of planned C-sections had a 35% risk of developing type I Diabetes than those who were a product of an emergency C-section.

Clearly the process of natural birth is an important one and as women we try to take into consideration all the studies and try to place the best interest of our child first, still complications do arise and at times it makes normal delivery impossible without compromising the life of you or your child. Be encouraged that even if your pregnancy did not end the way you planned….It does not make you any less of a woman.

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