CAESAREAN SECTION: The Fallacies and Facts

DG was a 27-year old woman in her 39th week of pregnancy; her first pregnancy ever. Her 36-week pregnancy scan showed that her baby weighed 4.1kg. The following discussion ensued between her and the doctor.

Doctor: ‘‘Mrs DG, considering the big size of the baby in your first pregnancy, it is risky if the baby is delivered through your vagina.’’ The doctor explained to her that her pelvis may not be able to accommodate such big baby to pass through. He also stated that the womb may not have enough power to ‘push’ the baby through the vagina. ‘‘A Caesarean section is safer,’’ he counselled.

DG: ‘‘God forbid I do surgery. I would have my baby myself. Doctor, do all you can to make me have my baby without surgery.’’

Doctor: ‘‘(explaining further danger of her decision), okay, we will allow you initiate labour naturally and observe your progress. If progress is unfavourable for either you or your unborn baby, we would have to resort to Caesarean section.’’

DG never returned when her labour pains started. She rather went to a maternity home where her details were not known. She had painful, difficult, and prolonged labour which lasted over 20 hours. The baby died at delivery. DG also sustained numerous injuries to her genital area.

KM, a 36- year old woman, was in her 37th week of pregnancy, her first ever. The baby had been in a persistent transverse lie for a period of two weeks. She was attending her antenatal clinic when her doctor informed her of the need to have a planned Caesarean section done due to the abnormal position of the baby in her womb. ‘‘You will not be able to have your baby through your vagina,’’ the doctor told her.

‘Okay,’ KM said. ‘‘So long my baby and I are safe.’’

The surgery was done in her 38th week of pregnancy. Surgery lasted less than an hour. She and her baby have been fine.

The surgical practice of Caesarean section is as old as mankind. Therefore, several perceptions abound concerning this mode of delivery. From the clinical point of view, the doctor’s goal in the planning of the delivery of any baby is to have healthy mother and healthy baby. This can be achieved either by means of vaginal delivery or Caesarean section. Below are certain false perceptions and the corresponding facts.

                                                

Caesarean section is an abnormal mode of delivery. This perception is mostly shared among people who reside in developing countries. It is thought that surgical mode of delivery is improper. Some believe that the woman would not be fit enough to resume routine activities as a result of surgery when compared with vaginal delivery. Read more about CAESAREAN SECTION: The Fallacies and Facts

Dr Ademola Orolu is a Consultant Family Physician. He holds the Fellowship of The West African College of Physicians. He is also an Associate Fellow of The National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria. He is in active clinical practice. He is a writer, a patient advocate, and has a passion for health education. He is the Medical Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nathaniel Health Consulting (a family hospital), Matogun, Ogun State. He is the editor-in-chief of The Family Doctors. He can be contacted via demolaorolu@gmail.com

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