Choice for childbirth: To push or cut?

Joy, wonder, fear and anticipation are the emotions that accompany pregnancy but labour and delivery can also be described as an intimate time of worship as women seek divine comfort in childbearing.

In spite of the excruciating experience and medical complications that may come with birthing, some expectant women think it’s an honour to endure the pains in order to have the experience of natural delivery.

Technology advancement is also making it possible for others to opt for Caesarean Section (CS) because they want their babies delivered on a particular day or want to skip the pains of labour.

“Expectant women or couples who want certain dates of the month for instance, December 25, called Christmas babies, sometimes request for CS. Some opt for CS because they are not ready to ‘push’ that is, vaginal delivery,” Mrs Jacqueline Adiaba, an anaesthetist at the Ho Teaching Hospital, explained.

Experience of childbirth

Depending on who is talking to you, childbirth can be a terrifying or magical experience— the pain, fear, anxiety, excitement and relief that come with it.

A first-time mother, 32-year-old Mrs Nhyira Twumasi, described what it felt like to give birth.

“It’s so relieving after months of being heavily loaded, “Mrs Nhyira lets out with laughter.
Mildred, a 25-year-old first-time mother, was eager to experience the natural process of childbirth.

She said she changed her hospital when nurses suggested CS due to her baby’s weight just she could be allowed to “give birth the traditional way”.

She was given the opportunity to experience it but realised it was much pain to endure.

“It was terrible; it was very painful, the pain ‘down there’ after delivery was another thing to bear but in few weeks, I was okay, she affirmed.

Natural delivery

What is fascinating about these mothers is that although they knew about CS, it only struck in the course of labour when they were overwhelmed with intense pain.

Mrs Mercy Dzah, a teacher and mother of three, said her first delivery was a dramatic one. She told nurses, “either I deliver my baby via CS or I’m going home!”

“I was bent on having a CS delivery to skip labour pain but the nurses objected,” she said.
Nurses who attended to Mercy were firm on her and eventually, she grudgingly agreed to have a vaginal delivery.

“My subsequent deliveries were, however, less painful.If you go through it once, the subsequent ones are not difficult,” she assured.

“After hours in the labour ward, I wish I had opted for CS because the pain was so unbearable,” Mrs Agyemang Esther, a 30-year-old first-time mother said.

Caesarean delivery

Inasmuch as CS delivery is not a first pick for most women, it seems as though there is no fear associated with the procedure for the confidence in the advancement of technology.

Mrs Baaba Coffie, a 35-year- old PR consultant is one of such mothers who had her three babies delivered by CS.

“I developed a serious complication at six months. It got worse at 32 weeks and my baby’s life was in danger so I had to have an emergency caesarean,” she explained.

For Baaba, her baby is all she wanted to see; she couldn’t worry much about how her babies were birthed.
Although she had some challenges during and after the process, her faith and family support helped in the recovery process.

“Every post-partum experience is very difficult. I was in a lot of pain physically. For my second caesarean, I had been in the hospital for six months so I was emotionally drained and I had some depression and anxiety for a few weeks but I had a lot of support from my family which helped me recover.”

She believes, however, that CS has advanced and not a big deal any more.

“You just need good pain management and emotional support,” she explained.

Mrs Jacqueline Adiaba, an anaesthetist and a 35-year-old mother of two, who had both babies delivered by CS, said the surgery was painless before and during delivery but painful after delivery because of the incision.

“It prevents some complications that may occur during vagina delivery, for example perineal tear (vagina tear). It also prevents recto-vaginal fistula (an abnormal connection between the rectum and the vagina) during vaginal delivery,” she explains.

“Vaginal delivery is the safest mode of delivery if there are no contra-indications. For a lot of those who opt for the CS with social reasons, when the facts are projected, we are able to talk them out of it by reassuring them of safety,” Dr Joseph Tettey Lawertey, Specialist Gynaecologist at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, advised.

It is amazing how expectant women fill their minds with the hope that carries them from one contraction or cut to the next.

Mothers nonetheless believe that whichever way a baby is birthed, it’s all an amazing triumph and experience regardless of the pain.