There are people who might look at this title, and think "What is there to be aware of?". So often now people view cesareans as just another way to have a baby. Rarely are the true risks of a cesarean told to expecting couples, and those are usually the immediate risks that are mentioned ( most often in passing ), nevermind the long-term risks that a cesarean can create.
I am involved in a new organization called BirthAction. The site is still in progress, but we very much hope for it to be a hub for pregnant women to come and receive well-rounded information on everything pregnancy. Kind of like What To Expect When You're Expecting, just with accurate information. ;) We'd like it to be a place where women can come and find information about routine pregnancy screenings ( like ultrasound, afp testing, gestational diabetes testing, Rh sensitization, gbs, etc ) and make informed decisions about their prenatal care. It also offers tips on how to avoid a primary cesarean, tips on how to optimize the chance of a successful VBAC, information on home birthing, unassisted birthing, water birth...and everything in between.
In our goal to create awareness about the risks of cesarean sections, I designed the poster that I am putting on this page. Women need to think long and hard before agreeing to a cesarean for reasons that are not life threatening, and to elective ( or coerced ) repeat cesareans.
I am five years out from my one and only cesarean, and I have what will probably be life-long side effects. For the first time in my menstrual history, I have irregular periods, endometriosis, and PCOS. This did not occur until *after* my cesarean. I have had hormonal problems, weight gain, and much pain as a result. It breaks my heart when I hear of women resigning to a cesarean for a "large" baby, for a breech baby, or for twins. It breaks my heart and makes me want to throttle doctors when I hear of elective inductions, inductions for "large baby", inductions because mom hits 40/41/42 weeks. It makes my stomach drop when I hear women count down to their due dates, because they obviously are unaware that a due date is simply an estimation, NOT a guaranteed date of arrival. It makes me cringe when women call themselves "overdue" when they are a few days past 40 weeks. They do not know that they are not a bit "overdue" until after 42 weeks. Technically, according to medical literature, not even until after 43 weeks. It's 42 *completed* weeks.
So many cesareans can be avoided. If women would come back to the knowledge that their bodies are strong. That they are capable. That pregnancy is not a condition or disease or pathology. That they do not need drugs to begin, or to get through their labor. That their baby is healthier when they allow labor to begin, and to occur naturally. I wish that women would stop believing that there is something wrong with their body, or that they are not strong enough to endure labor without the blasted epidural.
Women need to wake up and realize what is being done to their babies.