Yet Another Argument in Favor of Elective C-Section

Yet another argument in favor of elective C-section:

As many as one in 13 mothers experience full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the weeks after their child is delivered, the McGill University researchers concluded. Their symptoms can include sleeplessness, repeated flashbacks and nightmares and emotional avoidance of people and things that remind them of giving birth, including even their newborn infant. . . In all cases, the symptoms started after the childbirth and were linked by the women to the delivery experience. . . It seems to make sense that women who have been sexually assaulted, on the other hand, would be more at risk for post-traumatic stress, said Dr. Da Costa, given that delivery happens in and around the sexual organs.

I hope people manage to see the word “elective” in the title and in the 1st sentence of this post. The discussion of elective C-section often triggers selective blindness in crazed worshipers of all things that have been sold to them as “natural.”

23 thoughts on “Yet Another Argument in Favor of Elective C-Section

  1. For whatever reason, a lot of people seem to (mistakenly) equate ‘natural’ with ‘moral.’ What they fail to understand is that nature is inherently impersonal, and therefore amoral, and as such is often unneccessarily brutal. Case in point: childbirth. Nature doesn’t give a shit whether it’s painful or not, just so long as its effective enough to crap out the next generation of organisms. It is, upon analysis, an extremely sociopathic basis for marality.

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  2. I have not read the article, just the abstract, but it is not apparent that the authors are distinguishing between natural childbirth and C-sections. From what I can tell, this article doesn’t support the argument that C-sections are less traumatic than natural childbirth. Not that I am advocating for natural childbirth, I just don’t think this article makes a distinction.

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    1. “It seems to make sense that women who have been sexually assaulted, on the other hand, would be more at risk for post-traumatic stress, said Dr. Da Costa, given that delivery happens in and around the sexual organs.” Women who elect a C-section usually do so precisely because it does not destroy their sexual organs.

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  3. I find all the “natural” birth vs. medical intervention stuff so confusing. I do hope to have kids (although probably not for a couple more years), but you hear so many horror stories from both sides that it’s hard to separate the truth from the hyperbole. On the one hand, natural birth advocates seem to think there are so many ways that medical interventions can hurt mother and baby, but on the other hand…modern medicine exists for a reason, it’s absolutely amazing that we as a species/society have been able to make so many advancements, and it seems downright silly not to take advantage of them.

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  4. I’ve now read the article. 27.7 percent of the women in the study gave birth by Cesarian section. The authors found no difference in PTSD based on delivery method.
    “Women who elect a C-section usually do so precisely because it does not destroy their sexual organs.” Any basis for this, or just your best guess?
    I believe women who want to deliver by c-section should be able to do so without having to justify it to anyone.

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    1. I knew this would happen. I’m talking very specifically about elective C-section. The one that lasts 30 minutes, involves zero pain, and has a very short recovery time. Why would a painless short experience cause PTSD in any one?

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      1. And yet, if you actually read the article the newspaper account referred to, you would know why an elective C-section can cause PTSD in some people.

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    2. Yeah, I’m sure there are also some women who schedule a C-section because they’d have a high-risk birth (multiple births and such), others schedule one because some doctors believe that vaginal birth after a Cesarian is dangerous (that’s actually why my little sister was born in a scheduled C-section. I’d been an emergency C-section, and VBAC was pretty much unheard of at the time.) I also bet some women schedule a C-section just because their schedule won’t allow for weeks on end of sitting around wondering “will today be the day?” If you schedule your birth, you have a more accurate idea of when to go on maternity leave, you can tell visiting family members exactly when to make their travel plans, you can set up whatever babysitters, etc. the older kids will need…in a lot of ways, it seems pretty darn superior to just knowing that the baby will probably be born somewhere in the 38-42 week range

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  5. The percentage of women who suffer PTSD after childbirth is small, both for those who deliver vaginally and those who deliver by C-section. The newspaper article could have been entitled, “Most women handle childbirth well”, but that wouldn’t be too compelling, would it. The authors of the study seemed to hope that it would be used to help identify women who were at risk of PTSD – women with anxiety disorders, few social supports, previous victims of sexual trauma or who had given birth to a child with a low APGAR score, so that supports could be put in place for them. Giving birth, vaginally or by C-section, is serious, but these days it’s pretty safe. But there are some women, a lot of them, it seems, who get some kind of pleasure out of sharing horror stories of labour and childbirth, and there are some people of both sexes who like to look for reasons to think of women as weak and vulnerable. Yes, childbirth hurts (and recovering from a C-section hurts too) but there are lots of things that hurt just as much or more (pinched nerves, passing kidney stones, cancer). It seems to me both groups of people are trying to use this article (which really doesn’t say anything we didn’t know before), women to say: look what martyrs we are; and others to say: look how fragile women are.

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        1. The quote I was reacting to is given in the post: “It seems to make sense that women who have been sexually assaulted, on the other hand, would be more at risk for post-traumatic stress, said Dr. Da Costa, given that delivery happens in and around the sexual organs.” Vaginal delivery happens around sexual organs. A C-section does not. I proceeded to offer my analysis on the basis of this very specific quote. I always quote exactly what I’m reacting to.

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  6. But Dr. Da Costa found that method of delivery HAD NO SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE on whether the woman experienced PTSD or not. Of course, you have to read the actual article to discover this, not some sensationalist newspaper account.

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      1. Don’t let the facts get in the way of your opinion. Whether or not you believe that a C-section is less traumatizing for victims of sexual trauma, this study did not verify that.

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    1. I also don’t see what is so sensationalist about this story. That vaginal childbirth is extremely painful and that it is remembered by many women (actually by every single woman I ever discussed this with) as the most painful, horrifying and traumatic experience of their lives? This isn’t news to anybody. Where is the sensation, precisely?

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      1. For one thing, the title of the newspaper article is “Childbirth can be as stressful as war: study”, which was not, in fact, what the study said. You write articles for journals, you can surely imagine how accurate a summary of your article would be if written by a journalist who knew nothing about Spanish literature.
        Vaginal birth is painful, and for many twenty-somethings, it is probably the most painful experience they have had. It is probably also the most exciting experience they have ever had. Nobody wants to downplay it. Many women relish telling the story, because it has a happy ending. Nobody relishes telling the story of the pain they had when they had cancer. And keep in mind that many women voluntarily go on to have another child. Honestly, it is not that bad and does not last that long. And Cesarians are neither pain free nor risk free. I think women should have the right to choose which method they use to give birth, but I also think that they should be given the facts about risks and benefits of each method
        And surely you know that stories told to you by friends and acquaintances are worthless as evidence. But again, don’t bother with facts if they don’t support your opinion.

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        1. I can see that you are very angry, although I have absolutely no idea why you should be. However, that is no reason to try to insult somebody who has been 100% polite with you. When a person tells you that people she knows have shared horrifying experiences with her, using the word “worthless” in that context is tactless, dismissive, and hurtful.

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    1. This is the perfect example of why we need to be very careful with the antecedents of our pronouns. This comment sounds like I will not allow my opinion get in the way of facts, which is not what the original commenter was saying.

      Can you guess that I’m grading student essays again? 🙂

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  7. I’m not angry, I’m just argumentative. I did not mean that the experience of your friends was worthless. I meant that it is not useful as evidence. Someone who has research experience can explain it to you. You don’t usually indulge in sloppy thinking.

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