Wondering about the advantages and disadvantages of a having a c-section and if it’s right for you?
Here I am, pregnant with my fourth child. In just a few short months, I’ll be having my fourth cesarean delivery. I’m honestly still in shock since this baby was a surprise for us!
I don’t have the option to choose which type of delivery I’d like this time around. I also can’t give you experience from both angles, only from the c-section version. However, I can inform you everything I know about the pros and cons of having a c-section.
C-sections are much more common today than they were years before. Years ago, women only had a cesarean delivery if it was an emergency situation. Now, some women may choose to deliver this way rather than have a vaginal delivery.
After my first emergency c-section, my doctors allowed me to try for a VBAC. I tried my best but my body refused and each time I ended up having a c-section.
This last time, my doctors aren’t giving me a choice and are saying I have to have a c-section delivery.
I truly believe that no matter what way a woman delivers a baby, it is a painful experience regardless! If your doctor is giving you a choice for whatever reason or you’re just curious about having a c-section, keep on reading!
I will go into detail for you as best I can about the pros and cons of having a c-section. Many of the pros and cons were from my opinion and the opinion of a few other moms I know. Also, some of the pros and cons below are backed by medical research.
Every woman’s experience is different, just like every baby is different!
In the end, all mothers can agree that all that matters is the outcome of a healthy baby!
PROS of having a C-section
Let’s start with the good stuff, shall we?
1. You can schedule your delivery
Obviously, this is only the case if you are having a scheduled c-section. If you end up having an emergency c-section, then this won’t apply to you at all!
This was probably the one thing I really enjoyed about having a c-section!
I don’t live near my family so it was nice to plan ahead and have my parents drive down to watch my other girls when I needed them. This was much more convenient, rather than calling them last minute and looking for a sitter while I was in labor!
You can have your nursery all done, schedule your maternity leave, have everything prepared, and ready for you and the baby to come home!
No surprises here!
I was able to clean my house, have notes ready for my husband or parents, have meals planned out, school schedules written, clothes cleaned for daughters, it was all prepared! There was no stressing about what I didn’t get done or who was with my kids when I needed them. This was all set up and planned ahead of time which gave me less stress and allowed me to focus on my new baby more.
Need help packing for your scheduled c-section?
2. Your vagina does not get ripped or torn
I suppose this can be a pro, even though your stomach gets cut open and you end up having major abdominal surgery instead! Some women like the idea of not having to push a baby out of their vagina and it all stays intact.
This wasn’t really a pro for me but it is for other mothers. I also can’t have much opinion here since I never pushed a baby out that way, so I don’t know the difference.
I have heard from many moms that have had to have stitches down there that the pain of that was worse than anything else in the world!
So, by having a c-section, you do get to bypass all of that!
3. You won’t feel the pain DURING the delivery
Yes, you will feel pain after the delivery, however, you won’t feel any pain during the delivery of your baby. At most, you may feel some tugging and pulling which can feel odd and a bit uncomfortable but nothing painful.
Many women that are deathly scared of the pain like this option better. I will warn you though, the pain will come afterward! So, don’t feel like there won’t be any pain, it will be there but not during the actual delivery.
4. You may get to deliver early
In most cases, your doctor will want to schedule your cesarean section before you go into labor. This wasn’t the case for me since I was trying for a VBAC with my last two pregnancies. However, this fourth pregnancy, my doctors won’t let me try for a VBAC so I’ll most likely be scheduled to go a bit earlier than my due date.
This can be a pro for those moms who are incredibly over their pregnancy at 39 weeks and are just super uncomfortable!
To be honest, most women are at this point at the end of their pregnancy anyway! LOL
5. Your husband or significant other will have to help you out and step up to the plate!
If this is your second pregnancy and you didn’t get much assistance with your first one from your husband, you’ll notice a difference here!
He has to help you out more! This is major surgery and you aren’t able to do as much as you can after a vaginal delivery.
So, if your husband likes to sit back and put his feet up, he won’t be able to after you have this baby! You’ll need help from him or a family relative, especially if you have other little ones at home!
If you do happen to be a mother having a c-section without postpartum help and wonder how you’ll manage to care for your toddlers at home? Read this post for tips on c-section recovery with toddlers and how to care for them if you’re at home alone!
6. It can be life-saving!
I didn’t think I needed to add this but it should be mentioned!
Having a c-section, in most situations is a life-saving operation! Babies that are breech, some twin pregnancies, fetal or maternal distress, uterine rupture, placenta previa, and so many other problems that can arise are in need of having an emergency or scheduled cesarean section.
I constantly think about how terrible my first delivery went and if I didn’t have a c-section, I’m not sure my daughter or myself would be here today.
Those reasons alone are a huge PRO for a c-section! I had 3 wonderful and healthy baby girls from c-sections. Yes, my first had some complications but things could’ve been much worse if I didn’t have the c-section.
CONS of having a C-section
1. The painful recovery
Okay, so here’s the deal, I’m not going to sugar coat this but even though your actual c-section was smooth sailing and pain-free, you don’t get off that easy!
You will feel pain after your meds wear off. Sometimes, depending on what meds your medical team gave you, the pain can hit you like a truck so be prepared ahead of time!
The best advice I can give any new mother would be to stay on top of your ibuprofen and walk as much as you can!
You will have the option to take something stronger like Tylenol with codeine once your pain meds wear off. I did not take this because I was breastfeeding my baby and I didn’t want to feel totally out of it and exhausted.
Even if you choose to stick with the ibuprofen, either way, stay on top of your pain meds especially when you leave the hospital!
The 5-6 hours can fly by and you will be so busy with your newborn and the pain will come back fast! If you remember to take the ibuprofen right before your time is up, you’ll have a much better handle on your recovery.
Stock up on this now so you have plenty when you get home! Be sure to get the gel caps because they work faster!
If you’d like a more natural pain relief after your c-section, try Arnicare.
2. Your hospital stay is longer
In most situations, a hospital stay after a c-section is normally longer than a vaginal delivery. The quickest I was able to leave the hospital after having 3 c-sections was 3 days. My first hospital stay was the longest! My first was born through an emergency c-section after two days of labor and then she was in the NICU which made my hospital stay last 6 days!
Not the most ideal situation, obviously!
Depending on your surgery and the baby’s health, today, most women are able to leave the hospital 2-3 days after cesarean delivery. As long as your baby is healthy and mom feels good, then you may leave within 3 days.
This was one of the toughest things for me because I don’t have family close by. My parents had to drive almost two hours to come and stay with my daughters or pick them up from school. Also, once I did leave the hospital and got home, my husband had to go back to work! This meant, I was left taking care of all 3 of my kids by myself!
Getting the proper rest wasn’t happening for me, to say the least!
3. A c-section recovery is longer than a vaginal recovery
This is probably one of the worst cons and the problem most women face after having a c-section delivery. You don’t heal within a few days to a week like a vaginal delivery.
Healing after a c-section can take up to 6-8 weeks! Yes, 8 long weeks! In most cases, you will feel better each week and by week 6, feeling your best! However, every situation is different.
You aren’t able to exercise for a few weeks, take a bath, walk up stairs, or drive a car just to name a few restrictions! (Source)
To learn more about the do’s and don’ts after having a c-section, click here.
What bothered me the most was how hard the first few days were just walking to the bathroom! The more you walk, the better you feel but it’s tough right after surgery and you’re exhausted! Most mothers even feel out of it and groggy from the pain killers they had to give you.
It honestly can take a while to adjust to everything!
Be sure to tell family and friends that you won’t be up for visitors right away! You need time to heal and focus on your newborn before all the friends and family come pouring in!
4. Having a c-section is major abdominal surgery and is riskier than a vaginal delivery
There are many risk factors when it comes to having a c-section compared to vaginal delivery. Obviously, both deliveries can be risky but in most situations, a cesarean poses more of a risk.
Here are a few things to worry about with having a c-section:
- Increased risk of blood loss
- Greater risk of infection
- Increased risk of bowel or bladder injury
- Possible blood clots may form
- Concerns for complications from anesthesia could be possible
- Possible risk for placenta problems or uterine rupture
- Babies are not squeezing out fluid by going through the birth canal and may have extra fluid in their lungs which could cause breathing problems
- Babies are also missing the good bacteria called microbiome that is normally covering them while passing through their mother’s birth canal which would boost their immune system
- Women are 3 times more likely to die after a c-section delivery than after a vaginal delivery (Source)
5. You will have a scar
This didn’t bother me at all but depending on what type of c-section scar you get and how well it heals, it may concern you.
My scar healed great each time and after a while, you could barely even notice it! My incision is below my bikini line so I’ve been able to wear a bikini fine over the years without anyone seeing it.
Some women say they don’t like their scar and it didn’t heal properly. So again, every mother is different and so is each cesarean delivery!
Here are a few things below to help treat your scar and heal it quicker!
Always talk to your doctor first about trying any healing treatments.
6. Breastfeeding after a c-section can be difficult
Breastfeeding a baby can be tough for any first time mother no matter how she delivered her baby! There’s a lot to learn and sometimes getting a newborn baby to latch onto your nipple isn’t the easiest task in the world!
However, after having a cesarean section, you’re a bit out of it. You’re usually coming off of some strong pain killers and can’t exactly focus on what you’re doing. Not to mention, it’s not all that easy sitting up and lifting your newborn baby to your breast!
Your stomach muscles don’t quite work as well as they did before and you will need them to lift your baby up to your breast. If you are able to lay on your side to nurse your baby, this may be your most comfortable breastfeeding position after a c-section.
I was not able to lay on my side after my first c-section. My side muscles weren’t capable of moving that way for a few weeks so it made it very difficult for me. However, after my second and third c-section, my muscles were fine and this breastfeeding position was very comfortable for me after my c-section.
Most mothers want to sit up and have the help of the hospital bed to move in an upright position which is amazing! Also, be sure to pack your nursing pillow for extra support to breastfeed your baby at the hospital! You will be so happy you packed it if your hospital doesn’t provide one for you!
Many mothers tend to give up breastfeeding quickly after a c-section due to the overall pain they are dealing with. Hang in there and read this post to help you breastfeed successfully after a c-section!
I hope these pros and cons of having a c-section help you learn more about a cesarean delivery! If you must have a scheduled c-section, then I hope the tips above can offer you lots of help!
For more help on recovering from a c-section, you may be interested in the posts below: