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Unplanned Cesarean Section: Why It Happens And What You Should Do

It doesn’t matter if you have been preparing to have a vaginal birth throughout the pregnancy. Sometimes, you may end up having a cesarean section just because it is the safest option for you and your baby. If you are a pregnant mom nearing her due date, it is better to be mentally prepared for an unplanned cesarean section. Preparing for it will make it a bit easier and less confusing for you.

Why Do Unplanned Cesareans Happen?

Keep in mind that an emergency c-section is different from an unplanned c-section. An emergency c-section is administered when the mother and/or baby’s life is at risk. For example:

i) Umbilical Cord

Sometimes, there could be complications with the way the baby is attached to the umbilical cord. If it is coiled around the baby’s neck too many times, it is safer to have a c-section. Else, it may restrict the baby’s breathing. If there is just one loop around the baby’s neck, doctors would be able to remove it even if you had a vaginal delivery.

ii) Placenta abruption

This is a serious condition where the placenta gets detached from the uterus or falls out of the womb. It puts the mother and baby’s life at risk as there would be a lot of blood loss involved. So the doctors may advise getting a c-section done instead of normal delivery.

Here are two common reasons why an unplanned c-section can occur:

i) Prolonged labour

If the mother is in labour for too long and has not made any progress over a couple of hours, the doctor would opt for a cesarean section. Before recommending a c-section, your doctors will try to change your position or administer drugs to help with the contractions.

ii) Cephalopelvic disproportion

A cephalopelvic disproportion is when the baby’s head is too big for the mother’s pelvis. If the mother hasn’t dilated or is stuck at six centimetres, there would be no point in putting the mother in more pain if it is not physically possible to give birth vaginally. Thus, c-section would be the safest bet for mom and baby.

Planning For An Unplanned Cesarean Section

Rather than going to the delivery room with the thought that a c-section is never going to happen in your case, it is better to go in believing that you may have to opt for a c-section. Being mentally prepared to endure a c-section will make it easier for you if it ever comes to making the decision of choosing a c-section delivery.

Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind if you are going to have an unplanned c-section:

1. Ask if your mom can be with you

In case of a c-section, you would be taken to an OR. If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of being in an OR all by yourself, you can ask if you can take your mom with you for comfort.

2. Ask more questions

A c-section for the very first time can seem scary. What may help put your mind at ease is if your doctor walks you through the procedure. Ask them to explain the entire procedure and feel free to ask questions too.

3. Take a shower

Since you have been in labour for a good couple of hours, it would feel nice to take a shower and clean yourself up a little. It will help relax your mind.

4. Happy thoughts ONLY

Although you may feel a bit scared or anxious about the surgery, it is best not to worry about it too much. Instead of thinking about the surgery, think about anything that makes you happy. Picture yourself in your favourite holiday destination or your favourite happy memory.

5. Let it out!

Whatever emotions you are feeling at the moment, you have all the rights to let it out. Whether it is feelings of sadness, worry, happiness or anger about having a c-section, it is best to let it out. If it helps you feel better about it, just do what you got to do. This applies for after your baby is born too - if you feel like crying, it’s ok to cry. Giving birth is a life-changing experience and you have every right to feel happy or sad about it.

6. Recovering after...

The journey doesn’t end at giving birth. Now that you had a c-section delivery, it is time for you to allow your body to heal. Take tips from your doctor about everything you have to do to recover. There is no shortcut to it. You will take a good couple of months to recover. You can take this recovery journey with your baby. Once your baby is able to sit up, for example, you should be able to do yoga with ease.

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