Caesar vs Natural


So, when finding out I was going to have a baby (yes, it wasn’t exactly a planed pregnancy), one of the many thoughts that ran through my mind was: “Ouch! That means I have to give birth?!”

I decided I was going to be prepared for this, and read all I could to learn about what was happening to my body and what was going to happen to me when giving birth. Any first-time-mom’s concern, right? I read all sorts of books; books about breast feeding, sleeping schedules, books about development and especially books about giving birth!  Then I was informed by a relative that ante natal classes helped her to get informed.  I decided to take it a step further and did the classes in my last trimester.

Man, we (the class members) were drilled about how breast milk is the best thing for your child, natural birth is the thing to do, and epidural was going to drug the baby and affect the sucking reflex. We were shown video clips of women who gave birth without any pain relieving drugs and told us that it was a womanly thing to do. She totally downplayed C-sections, scaring the thought from anyone’s mind who considered having a c-section.  After listening to the midwife talking about her view on things, I realised that it sounded like the thing to do.  She was very convincing and I made up my mind that I was going to do a natural birth without any pain relief. I even made a hospital plan on the way I’d like things to go down…

Later in the course of the ante natal class, I began to question a few things the midwife said and developed my own opinions on some of the other topics (but boy! She won me over with the birthing thing), only later sis I realise she didn’t do a very good job of remaining objective.

This is how my planned “natural” birth went down:

When time came and I was induced into labour (baby felt it wasn’t time to leave my “Oven” yet), I had to have an elective C-section (due to complications). You’d think that I’d be disappointed right?  Wouldn’t you?  Well, I was… for about 20 seconds.  Then I thought: “AAAH! Who gives a stuff! GIVE ME THE DRUGS and wheel me off to theatre already!”

So, I had an elective C-section, I enjoyed the drugs (the fact that I couldn’t feel the pain anymore) and loved the surgery even more! I don’t know what I was thinking trying to push my son through my “YOO-HOO”!  Ok, so plenty of women have done it the natural way, even without the pain killers.  I decided that that wasn’t for me!

Don’t get me wrong! Having a C-section is quite a big surgery. But it is defiantly not as bad as some make you think it is.

Moral of the story: don’t let other people convince you that there is a wrong and right way of giving birth. Be open minded to both possibilities, it could go down any way in the end. I learnt a lesson to apply that to anything I do with “Mothering”.

Ante natal classes were educational in many ways and the bonus was that my husband got to come. So he learnt what was happening to me and I guess it was nice for him to feel part of it all and I enjoyed the support.

Oh, and F.Y.I. the epidural didn’t affect my child’s sucking reflex…. It seemed to me that it turned him into a mini-1000 WATT vacuum machine! LOL

27 Responses to “Caesar vs Natural”

  1. Kerry Kerry says:

    Like you I bought every book there was to buy on pregnancy and related topics. I read all about the birthing options and went to the prenatal classes where the midwife also told us about how bad epidurals were… this of course did not deter me.

    My original plan (since before getting pregnant – luckily I had the benefit of going into it by decision) was to see how it all goes and most likely have an epi. As it turned out, I started established labour at 1:30am (after 9 hours of contractions 8 mins apart lasting for 1,5 mins), by 5am I was 3 cm dilated with extremely strong contractions according to my midwife (I gave birth in Holland, home of no-meds! and was checked out at home before going to hospital – another huge no-no in holland!) She said it was unlikely I’d make it to hospital in time to get the epi, I was in so much pain, I honestly thought I wouldn’t make it.

    Got to hospital and finally got my epidural (which pulled out about 30 mins later! and no one could figure out why I was still half dying!)

    At 12 noon I was still only 5cm gone and they had to induce me. Thank heavens for the epidural then as my contractions trippled in strength! and I only gave birth (naturally) at 15h30, after a whopping 14 hours of labour!

    If it hadn’t been for the epidural, I would not have made it! I was half dead from tiredness by the time they gave it to me, I could barely lift my head.

    I’d also say go for it if that’s what you want, birth isn’t a competition!!!!! And we don’t have to sit around the fire one day comparing our war stories! Do what is right for you!

  2. Madelain Madelain says:

    Wow! That is CRAZY!
    I’m really glad you made it through all that Kerry!

    I could not agree more with you about birthing not being a compitition!

    I hated contractions and never want to feel it ever again. Now I guess we really know our limits!

    Viva Epidural! ;)

  3. Lindsay du Preez Lindsay du Preez says:

    I know I’m crazy, but I’d love to have my labour all over again! After two caesars (one emergency, one planned)I really wanted to experience the natural way and I loved it (obviously at the time I didn’t think much of it). I have never before felt such an adrenalin rush – really felt like an all-powerful woman!!!

    But then again, I didn’t have to try and push out a baby the size of your baba, Bron – I think I’d be begging for a caesar quick-quick!!!

    • CARMEN CARMEN says:

      Hi there…where did you have your third baby? In Cape Town? I live in Durban and have had two caesars and also would like a natural now with my third. Is there any info you could give me? The docs are all saying no…

      • Christine Christine says:

        Dear Carmen

        May I suggest tw things to assist you.

        Firstly: Consider chatting to a midwife in yur area merely to get a perspective other than a doctors. It is possible to have a natural after having a ceasar and midwives are more likely to be straight with you.

        Secondly: May I suggest you make use of the service of a doula. She will be there to support you in any decision you make in order to make your labour & birth a pleasant experience, no matter how you choose to birth your baby.

        Go to the following at your leisure: – This site has a directory of midwives & doulas in your area as well as information about different birthing options and the benefits & drawback of each option. – On this site has information on what a doula is and what she does and what the benefits of having her are.

        These are just my suggestions. I hope they can be of some use to you.

        I wish you everything of the best

        Kind regards

    • lucia lucia says:

      Where did you gave birth, i had two ceasar and i am expecting my third child and i would like to go the natural birth route.

  4. Madelain Madelain says:

    I laughed when I read your comment! Or rather enjoyed your point of view on it.

    I hope Ypu’ll not concider me cheeky when I Say that I’ll now refere to call you “wonderwomen”! LOL you are very brave Lindsay!

    It’s nice to hear of the opposite. I will adore the drugs and you can fancy the rush! ;)

  5. Lisa Jones Lisa Jones says:

    hey there, I am relatively new at this pregnancy thing and am only 17 weeks. I have seen many of my friends go through pregnancy and seen a pattern that concerns me. all of them went to the same lady for prenatal classes and all had a similar experience to you….listen to the professional she knows best…then when your birth does not go according to the book, they are all ended up suffering, blaming themselves and some with post natal depression. So I just wonder how much of what you hear at classes must you take seriously and how much not. I am now hesitant to go to this particular lady and of these professionals that end up traumatising you more than helping… any advice?

    • Bronwyn bronwyn says:

      Hi Lisa. How exiting those first few months are. I understand your concern seeing as I’ve had much time to think about my birth and how it didn’t go according to “my plan” either. I think it’s important to know what you want to do. Natural, caesar? It’s also important to communicate these thoughts and your fears to your OBGYN.

      When I look at Kerry’s situation and another Uk friends birth story, it seems you’re “allowed” to be in labour for a lot longer in European countries than you are here. Given there are no complications, natural is just that, it’s the natural way of giving birth and only in extreme cases should C-sections be done (10% of births according to WHO). Here in SA it seems you either hurry up and give birth or your have a c-section. C-section is a huge and often encouraged option in this country- hence although your antenatal class insists that natural is the way to go- Private hospitals and medical aids may not always agree. I can only stress the importance of trusting your gynae so that if you decide natural and in labour he/she says caesar, you trust he/she is doing what’s best for you and your baby and not what’s best for his/her schedule.

  6. Shamim Shamim says:

    Having done natural birth (no epidural) and emergency caesar, i prefer the natural.

    i feel that sometimes the staff at private hospitals want you to just have the baby as quickly as possible (i.e. caesar). i was almost pressured into a caesar first time around, but luckily my little boy decided to drop (when i got up to go to the loo)!

  7. Kim Kim says:

    I am so pleased that there are midwives out there promoting natural birthing options. By no means should a woman feel guilty if a caesar is the safest option for her and baby in the end, but in my humble opinion we should enter into this process with natural birth as the ideal, and caesar as an option if things don’t go according to plan. Most women can give birth naturally without complications, if they are empowered to do so.

    After 3 wonderful drug-free births, I promise I know what I’m talking about. All of my babies have been over 3kg, my son was 3,9kg. I had a private midwife who made me feel like a champion, and the support of my gynae too.

    Its a personal choice, but one that should be made with all the facts at hand. A caesar isn’t safer, unless there is a real medical reason for it.

    I say PUSH – the natural high and benefits to your body and baby make it so worthwhile!

  8. Jessica Jessica says:

    I am a first time mom to be, and very confused regarding the ceasearian vs Natural birth. The second I realised I was preggos, I thought that natural was the way to go, no hesitations, no questions…but after doing some research on everything, and taking heed of other’s experiences, I am not so sure anymore. Yes having a ceasar is less painful than going through natural birth and surely less complicated, as the doctors all know what they are doing and its pretty straight forward, but I am also a planner. And i take to having an easy conscience due to the fact that a Ceasarian is all so planned, and specific, and fuss free as opposed to waiting to go into labour, and having to endure all that pain for however long it may take for your baby to be born on the big day. I probably sound like I have convinced myself here, but still…I remain confused. Advice anyone???

    • Julie Julie says:

      Hi Jessica

      Honestly I think it is such a personal decision and no one should be made to feel bad for the decision that makes them more comfortable. The bottom line is that childbirth, whether natural or Caesar, is painful. And as woman we should stick together because of our wonderful ability to bring life into the world.

      I am 16 weeks pregnant and I have opted for a caesar (elective), my very good friend is 15 weeks pregnant and she is insisting on drug free, natural. You will hear good and bad stories about both options. I personally want the ease and fuss free experience that comes with a caesar and I do not feel guilty in the slightest. I come from a family (and family in law) that consists of 5 specialist doctors – they all recommend caesars and have had caesars themselves. Why? Because they say it is the safer (not to mention better for your sex life in years to come). But…at the end of the day its your choice. Please just dont feel bad or guilty either way. Good luck with your birth and all the best!

  9. Lindsay Lindsay says:

    Hi there Jessica!
    My personal experience of having one emergency caesar, one planned caesar and then one natural delivery really gave me the chance to consider each option! And I am all for natural!
    Yes, it’s more inconvenient because you never know when the day is going to be and yes, it is VERY painful, but for me there was nothing more amazing than pushing my little boy out and holding his little naked body against mine (yes, all covered in muck)! I didn’t get that experience with my older two kiddies. Half an hour after delivery, I had a lovely bath and walked happily down to my room (feeling like wonderwoman). My caesars left me sore for weeks after although I’ve noticed a lot of moms seem to recover so much faster these days. Well, some of them!! In the end, it’s a decision you will have to make and be comfortable with. Don’t be scared by other people’s birth stories – don’t do too much research because I think that can also scare a girl! Talk to your gynae and weigh all the options. I wanted to be more involved in the birth of my 3rd child – I hadn’t felt included in the birth of the other two which bothered me for years! I’ve probably just confused you more, but in the end you need to make your decision and stay happy with it!!! Good luck!

  10. kiora kiora says:

    Hi Lindsay,
    Tell me, how did you plan giving natural birth after caessrean?I gave birth to a baby boy four years ago and it was not my plan to go c-section and now I feel like I was presured to do.I really want to give a natural birth to my second born next year,but now I am also scared/thinking about age.I mean giving birth for the first time naturally.If you do not mind were you after thirty when you go natural birth after two caesareans or around that age?
    I hate the scare it took me time to see the big tommy gone….infact not compltely gone.How is/was yours (belly)after two c-sections.

    • Lindsay Lindsay says:

      Hi Kiora,
      The first thing I did once I had decided to have natural birth was find a gynae that was open to the idea. A lot of gynaes will just say NO!!! My gynae was open to the idea, but nervous! Each month I would plague him and eventually we came to the agreement that if I hadn’t delivered by 39 weeks we would do a caesar! Luckily Jared came at 38 weeks. I also had a doula (helps the woman in labour but does not assist in delivery – there for mom) and she kept me focussed on what I had planned and discussed with her beforehand.
      I was 29 when I had him and yes, I do have a bit of a tummy after two c-sections!!! Just can’t get the muscles to work properly again, but hey!!! I’m ok with that most of the time!!!
      Good luck!!

  11. Sarah Sarah says:

    I think we would all reduce our anxiety levels if we accepted that a natural birth cannot be planned or anticipated. No-one know how the labour is going to progress and how painful you are going to find it. The pain depends on so many things: baby positions, individual pain threshold, length etc etc. Why not go into the hospital with an open mind? Knowing that if you need pain relief you can get it but that there is no point deciding before hand. I took this approach and gave birth naturally with no painkillers. The labour was short but intense. Next time I may have a long labour and request and epidural. Who knows? Let go and live in the moment.

  12. Janine Janine says:

    Hi All

    I’m 24 weeks pregnant with my first child and have been told by a midwife and another lady who gives antenatal classes that statistics show that 60 – 90% of births in private hospitals and with gynaes are done via c-section.

    I was advised that in most cases the option for natural birth is taken away from a pregnant lady without her knowing it, purely for commercial reasons and because the gynaes are able to schedule the ceasars.

    I am so frightened by this as my desire is to have a natural birth, but I have to be open to the fact that I might end up having a ceasar if there are complications. I am now considering going with a midwife, purely just so that my options are kept open until the very last minute.

    My gynae tells me that 45% of his births are natural births. I’m not sure whether I should swop to a midwife or stick with my gynae, who I really like and am comfortable with.

    If the statistics given to me by the midwives are true, then I’m most afraid of losing my choice for a natural / ceasar birth.

    Does anyone have any advice?

  13. gail gail says:

    Very intersted in all yor stories,
    I have 2 friends basically 7 months pregnant, and Im just going onto 8 weeks, I am trying to weigh up my gynae options, Hospital options, and have just been enlightened to the Midwife route…as I was enquiring about water births…and complications leading to C-sec.
    Does anyone know if a Midwife will be covered by Medical aid? or would only a gynae be?
    My hospital has the option, and I would like to know what my financial options would be here…
    can anyone help?

    Has anyone out there had a Waterbirth, does anyone know of anyone who has had one, and what the experience was?

    I know if you go for a Water birth, you will not be able to have an epidural, Is the pain any less in the warm water?


    • ObliviousMom ObliviousMom says:

      Water really really helps with the pain. I did not have a water birth but was in the bath until just before my baby was born. Had no drugs and do not think I could have done it without the warm water!

  14. ObliviousMom ObliviousMom says:

    After all my research I have sadly concluded that the rise of c-section in SA and other countries with private health care is due to money and greed. Doctors are paid a set amount per live birth. It is thus far more lucrative to do 4 caesars an hour then wait around for a natural birth. Many doctors suggest pre-term inductions so that they can claim to be pro-natutal knowing full well preterm inductions have very low success rates and the result will be a caesar and more cash to them. It is just the way of the world – skewed incentives create skewed results.

  15. ObliviousMom ObliviousMom says:

    I decided to give ante natal classes a skip and do my own researched and it was the best decision ever. Firstly, there is NO reason to watch gory birthing videos. If you are the one giving birth you do not actually see the gore. Secondly, by reading a few different opinions online you can get a far more balanced view of what the options are and make you own decision without undue influence. Having done my own research I decided early on that I would not have a preterm induction as they do not work and that was that. I told my gynae not to mention baby too large, placenta is calcified etc as I was not going to interfere. The baby is the only one that knows when it is time to be born.

    So when at 41.5 weeks I finally went into labour I was not really prepared but that does not matter. If you have a gynae who is able (by which I mean who actually has natural birth experience) they tell you what to do. Also the hospital nurses know exactly what to do and guide you through the process. I had a fairly fast progressing labour and so was not able to have an epidural. The pain was bad but really just an aside in the awesome experience of pushing out your baby. It is phenomenal to witness the power of your own body and your baby. And do not under estimate the power of your bodies own pain coping mechanism. During labour you produce a huge amount of endorphins which really help. Definitely the best experience of my life.

  16. Judith Judith says:

    hi ladies,
    I am jumping the gun a bit – am Mom of a healthy 15 months old, natural drug free birth – would love to do it all over again and was very happy with the birth experience.

    Is it possible in SA to deliver twins naturally or are you usually “pushed” towards Cesarean?
    Anyone has some experience?

  17. Abigail Abigail says:

    I am currently 17 weeks pregnant with my first child. Naturally there is a lot of fear of birth, of parenthood precisely because it is unknown to me.

    All the opinions here are helping me navigate the overwhelming amount of (contradictory) information available.

    I’d find it really useful if you all would share what resources you found most helpful in forming your own opinions.

  18. Nikita Nikita says:

    Hi ladies

    I have heard so many stories about natural vs ceasar. You hear about a c section being a money making racket etc etc and I just believe that u do what you feel comfortable with. I have been pro ceceasar for a while now because like some ladies I am a planner and I like to know when my little one is arrivin. I don’t think that makes me any less of a mother and the beauty of technology these days is that we do have options available. All the opinions that I have got have been mixed and I have heard from some mothers that they lloved natural, and some hated every minute of it.

    I’ve been with my Ty ae since I was 6 so I very much doubt that he would want to make a quick buck out of me. We have discussed all the options pros cons etc and he said that there s no need to make up your mind until u know what kind f a baby you are having

    He also introduced me to realities of today in a sense that natural birth 30 years ago is not what it is today. 30 yeatge babies of today are generally big ger than 30 years ago mainly due to the fact of what we are feeding our babbas

  19. Kirsty Kirsty says:

    Hi All! I agree with you all, it is such a personal decision. My first was born naturally with an Epidural…it was such a terrible experience, because I was numb I couldn’t push properly, he was delivered with forceps which resulted in me having an episiotomy which was AGONY. It took about two weeks to heal and was really no fun at all:( My second was born naturally, no epidural and weighed 4.7 KILOS! The birth was amazing and I went home the same day. x

  20. Alison Tshangana Alison Tshangana says:

    My first baby was breach and so I needed to have a c-section. Now I am expecting my second and I am very keen to have a natural birth. I have read all the discussion here and know there is considerable pressure by many pre-natal instructors, doctors, medical aid schemes, nurses to leap to a c-section after a previous c-section.

    What I need to do is find a doula, midwife and gynae who are committed to supporting me in my desire for a VBAC. Does anyone have any specific suggestions of NAMES of gynaes, doulas, midwives in the Cape Town area? Can anyone offer any recommendations? It would be MUCH appreciated.

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