Towards the end of your pregnancy, you start to wonder if the child inside of you will ever come out. It feels as if you’ve been carrying a 30-pound load for a decade and you can barely remember what your shoes look like on. But when you think about labor, you remember all that it entails. Okay, you concede, maybe you can hold off for a little while longer. Twenty-four hours of excruciating pain doesn’t exactly sound like a day in the park. You wonder if there is a way to both give birth to the child and avoid childbirth. So when the doctor suggests that you have an elective caesarean, your first question is when? Can it be done tomorrow? In fact, you’ll hop on the table right now, if he’ll let you. But before your excitement has you performing the operation, think about your baby.
Having an elective caesarean too early in the pregnancy can hinder the child’s development. Studies have shown that the less time the mother and doctor wait, the more likely it is that the infant will suffer from respiratory problems. While these difficulties are not often severe and can be rectified with oxygen therapy and an incubator, it’s not how you want your child’s life to begin. Wait until after your 39th week to select the elective caesarean. And when you do, make sure you’re doing it for the right reason.
Elective caesareans are recommended for women who have serious pre-eclampsia or a preexisting medical condition, who are giving birth to triplets (or more), whose baby is turned, breeched or too large for the birth canal, or whose placenta is positioned across the womb’s neck rendering natural childbirth impossible. However, many women are opting to have the operation because they fear vaginal delivery. They had a negative experience during their first birth or know of someone who did. While the decision calms their anxiety, it may harm the child. Talk to your doctor about all of your options. You may have to wait a little while longer to see your baby, but it will be worth it.