When it comes to the birth of a baby, there has always been this debate about whether caesarean births are ‘easier’ options, because some mothers do not want to endure the pain of vaginal childbirth.

There is also a school of thought that suggests C-section deliveries are life-saving operations that can and must only happen when the patient and the doctor have exhausted all other options to ensure a natural delivery.

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This debate recently spilled on Twitter, wherein a certain tweet went viral, which claimed that C-section is “currently becoming a way to escape labor pain”. Twitter user @Neurochauhan aka Doctor Thalamus said women do not understand that children born via C-section are “prone to type-1 diabetes, obesity, asthma and reduced cognition”. And that the “only indication of C-section is when the life of the mother or the fetus is at risk”.

Countering these claims, Twitter user Dr Somya Gupta (@dr_somyagupta) wrote that there is no need to lionise the pain of childbirth, and that women deserve a comfortable and less-painful experience.

Her tweet stated, “Firstly no one should be made to bear labor pains in this day and age — EPIDURALS FOR ALL!”

The doctor added that “caesarean [deliveries] is not done just to save lives”. “Caesareans can be done on maternal request, too, given the horrible and unforeseen consequences of so many vaginal deliveries,” her tweet read.

It led to a raging debate about the pros and cons of each, and which is the best way to bring a life into this world — that does not cause health harms to either the mother or the baby.

In a separate tweet, Dr Somya Gupta called out @Neurochauhan and said, “Maybe the neurosurgeon should try to repair a complete perineal tear once to see what women are left with after traumatic vaginal deliveries. Anyway, pain is not something that women have to bear EVER — whether in deliveries, sex, menstruation, or any chronic pain.”

Indianexpress.com reached out to Dr Neha Gupta, senior consultant, obstetrics and gynecology at Fortis Hospital, Noida for answers, and she explained that vaginal delivery is often perceived as “nature’s chosen way to deliver a baby”, because of which caesarean section is considered to be a ‘taboo’.

A caesarean section scar. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

“But, with better surgical facilities, antibiotics and safer anesthesia, C-section is a safe method of delivery. In some pregnant women, vaginal delivery is unsafe for either mother or baby, or both. If the treating obstetrician has suggested that a caesarean section is needed for safe delivery, then the patient and attendants should not be apprehensive,” she said.

The doctor added that the recovery time after C-section “may take a few days more than vaginal delivery, but the purpose of antenatal care is to have a healthy mother and healthy baby at the end of 9 months”.

According to her, the pros and cons of C-section are as follows:

Pros

1. It is the only safe way to deliver a baby, when the mother has a small bony pelvis, large (macrosomic) baby, obstruction at the vaginal outlet.
2. It is life saving in certain indications like placenta previa, fetal distress, etc.
3. It can be planned electively, so one can ensure the presence of the best surgical, anesthesia and paediatric team, along with the patient being in an appropriate fasting state.

Cons

1. It is a major surgery, in which all layers of the abdomen need to be cut and stitched back, along with scar on the uterus (womb), so there are higher complications for the mother.
2. Increased maternal blood loss.
3. It is likely that the next baby would need to be delivered by C-section.

The doctor also listed the pros and cons of vaginal birth as follows:

Pros

1. It is the best way to deliver a baby, unless there is an obstetrical reason to do caesarean.
2. Less morbid for mother, with lesser blood loss and early recovery.
3. Can also be done in a painless way, with labor analgesia available at many centers.

vaginal childbirth, delivery, childbirth, labor pain, C-section deliveries, childbirth pain, caesarean delivery, health, mother and child, indian express news C-section is a major surgery, in which all layers of the abdomen need to be cut and stitched back. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

Cons

1. Injury to mother’s birth canal, if undue prolonged labor or forceful vaginal delivery is conducted.
2. Difficult to predict the duration of labor.

“The start of the labor is associated with regular painful contractions of the uterus (womb) coming at shorter intervals and causing the mouth of the uterus (cervix) to open up. These contractions, if they start early, can cause preterm labor,” the doctor explained.

She added that with better monitoring facilities like CTG and advancement in pain management, a woman does not necessarily have to be in pain if she chooses a vaginal delivery. “There are many options, like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), continuous support in labor, touch and massage, water birth, intradermal sterile water injections, acupuncture and hypnosis, which can be beneficial for the management of pain. Patient-controlled inhaled pain relief and epidural analgesia are now available for pain-free labor,” the doctor concluded.

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