EPISODE #72

Stuff Mom Never Told You About
C-Sections

EPISODE #72

Stuff Mom Never Told You About
C-Sections

The cesarean is one of those parenting topics that makes people feel things to the extreme. Extreme anger. Extreme disappointment. Extreme relief. Or, sometimes, a mix of all of the above, ending in extreme inner-conflict.

The cesarean rate in the US is more than double what the World Health Organization recommends. And it’s hard to find clear answers on why. There are a ton of c-section studies out there, but many of them seem to contradict each other.

Enter Cristen Conger and Caroline Erwin, the fabulous research geeks at the podcast Stuff Mom Never Told You.

Caroline Erwin + Cristen Conger

Caroline Erwin + Cristen Conger

We asked Cristen and Caroline to dig up some clues for us that might help us to wrap our minds around the cesarean a little better. Tune in to hear about the strange and often creepy history of the c-section.

A 1549 woodcut of a cesarean-like procedure in Greek mythology.

A 1549 woodcut of a cesarean-like procedure in Greek mythology.

Plus, we hear from listeners with surprising c-section stories, including the women pictured below.

Ana Clara was under family pressure to get a c-section

Ana Clara was under family pressure to get a c-section

Star drove herself to the hospital, in hopes of avoiding a c-section

Star drove herself to the hospital, in hopes of avoiding a c-section

Tell us about YOUR c-section.
There are no easy answers on this topic. Help us to understand it better by adding your story below. Medical professional perspectives welcome!

Top image: Chamberlen obstetric forceps, which was a tool invented in the the 17th century to assist with removing the baby in difficult birthing situations. 

146 thoughts on “EPISODE #72: Stuff Mom Never Told You About C-Sections

  1. My baby was breech, prompting a scheduled c-section. It was super breezy heading it right at 10 for a noon baby on my due date. I was happy with whatever the birth was going to look like. I was not, however, prepared for the side effects. I was SO sick from the meds. I threw up the whole time. My doctor politely waited between heaves to pull my daughter out! The most upsetting part was how sick I was after. I shook and couldn’t move from nausea for the rest of the day. I was seeing double, so I wasn’t even comfortable holding my new baby, and I was so foggy I was having trouble understanding what was going on, which was rough because my daughter had been taken to the NICU. I am fine with having a c-section, but I do wish I had been better educated about potential side effects.

  2. New listener here! I know this episode is old but I just thought I’d share my c-section experience anyways. I’m a first time mom and my son is 3 months old. I had an unplanned c-section after being induced at 40+3. My OB suggested induction because the baby’s heart rate was a little abnormal after my contractions. Started the induction process at 7pm on a Thursday and by 6pm the next day, baby wasn’t moving down the birth canal. The OB on call suggested c-section and I said “ok”. Once they got my son out, they discovered that he was sunny side up and the cord was wrapped around his next twice. Although I would have preferred a vaginal birth, the c-section worked out because my son was not in the correct position.

  3. My son was born through an emergency C-section. His umbilical cord was wrapped once around his body, twice around his neck, and once around his head, so every time I had a contraction, it squeezed him and his heart rate plummeted and nurses and doctors swarmed in on me, prodding me to roll in different positions and strapping an oxygen mask to my face. The C-section saved my son and my medical team did a fantastic job, making it clear they had everything under control. Their professionalism kept me calm and I’m so thankful to them.

    I got to hold my husband’s hand as my son was born. I got to hear his first cries. My husband got to cut his (untangled) cord. I got to do skin to skin within the hour.

    But there’s this pervasive idea that I did it wrong and I should feel guilty. My female family members mourned my C-section. They said things like “well, maybe next time,” and “at least you’re breastfeeding.” I heard shades of that in this episode, and that hurts after so many other episodes have resonated so strongly.

    I want people to stop judging me for a procedure that saved my son’s life. I want people to stop judging me for not buying into this lie that there’s a correct way to mother and that by not doing it I started motherhood on the wrong foot. I understand that other mothers feel strong armed into a procedure they didn’t want or need and feel traumatized by it, and their feelings are completely valid. But I needed a C-section and it’s bizarre to have people think I should feel guilty or traumatized when I’m not. I wonder how many other women get the same message that they should feel awful for their C-section and they therefore do feel awful.

    The first thing I did as a mother was fail? No. The first thing I did as a mother was cry because my son was beautiful.

    1. Hi Carolyn,
      Thanks so much for leaving this comment. We really appreciate your feedback. It sounds like you had a very positive (and as you say, life-saving) birth experience and for that we are so glad! I’m sorry to hear that you heard shades of hurtful language in this episode. This is not our intention. We simply wanted to learn more about a procedure that is in some cases controversial and in some cases leaves women feeling unhappy with their birth experiences. As always, we want to validate each individual woman’s experience and her right to say for herself whether it was empowering. Thanks for sharing your story and listening to the stories of others. – Abigail, LST producer

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