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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

To Cut or Not to Cut

I just read an article yesterday in an Italian paper that stated, the rate of Cesarean sections in Italian women are now at 35%, while the average for the rest of Europe is 25%. This might be an alarming trend or not depending on how you look at it. The article did not go into depth as to why these women are choosing C-sections even when they are not called for medically but more out of a personal choice.

The DH (dear husband) just told me about an article he read, saying the National Health Service, does not include epidurals among its benefits for a laboring woman, but the law is under revision. Could this be the reason women are choosing to undergo C-sections? Maybe women like the idea of being pain free for the delivery. (I am aware that you have pain after the delivery though.) I have no idea but it got me thinking. What should I choose?

P.S. I am aware that a C-section is a surgical procedure and with all surgeries, there can be complications such as infection, scaring, bleeding etc... The last two friends of mine that gave birth vaginally were out for about 2 weeks for one and 3 for the other; I cannot compare their experiences to someone who has had a C-section.
But they both had blood loss, one had an infection and both were in pain for quite a while.

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At 7:04 AM, Blogger H. (aka. NC_State_Gal) said...

EEEK! In my opinion, I think that c-sections should be the last way to go. I think that I would only go that route in the extreme case of breech birth or if the length of labor time was endangering mother or child. I have NOTHING against epidurals and it is sad to read that the NHP doesn't include epidurals under its coverage. Quite honestly, I may be influenced by the American system, which allows for epidurals.

At 3:13 AM, Anonymous indah said...

Towards the end of my pregnancy my doctor said that it would be best for me to have a C section delivery due to my baby's size. However I was also told that I could try for a natural delivery but must be aware that an emergency C section could be performed if complications arise. I chose to have the 'elective' C section. I'm glad I had the C section andif/when we have another child, I would choose to have C section eventhough it's not for medical reason. I stayed at the hospital for 4 nights, was up and about as soon as we got home, and driving at the end of the second week. I took a tablet of chinese medicine 3 times a day for 5 days (I forgot the name, but is well known in Indonesia)-- all natural product and helps heal internal wounds.

At 9:19 AM, Blogger nikinpos said...

I was made to have a c-section, due to unclear reasons. I think it is because the Doctors earn more money than on a natural birth! It didn't bother me as I was worried about going onto labour and having a 2 1/2 hour journey to the hospital!
The worse thing was that it is standard practise (at least in Naples) to put all newborn C-section babies in incubators for 12 hours, so forget about the bonding!

At 1:25 PM, Anonymous indah said...

After my baby was washed and weighed, they brought him to me and sort of held him next to my face so that our skin would touch for a few minutes-- at that point I was still on the surgery table. Then he was placed in the incubator until I was brought back to my room. I had a private room and my baby slept next to me in his little crib throughout the entire stay at the hospital. I was encouraged to breastfeed as soon as possible. A nurse would come in to bring the baby to me for feedings and cuddle time. I gave birth at Le Scotte hospital in Siena. The medical care I received was excellent.

At 2:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow...big decision... i had my son 14 yrs ago but i chose regular old vaginal birth (with lotsa drugs of course, i'm no martyr...lol). I had a healthy pregnancy and there were no complications so a cesarian was mentioned as an option but only if there were problems during the delivery. I had a long, LONG labour: 29hrs!!!! 20 hrs with no drugs (can we say hellish???), about 8 hrs on morphine and then the last hour or so with the epidural. The epidural was great! once i got the needle, my sanity returned ;-), the baby was delivered normally and as soon as he was out i felt great. I was able to walk comfortably the next morning and was ready to go home the next day and felt pretty much back to normal (despite an episiotomy) within a week.

Both my sister and my cousin had cesarians (due to complications)and the one thing i remember was how much pain they were in for several weeks after the delivery while their incision healed. My sis ended up with an infection which was pretty nasty until it healed. Now my labour was unusually long and painful but given the choice, i would go that route again, rather than something as invasive as a cesarian - so many fewer complication to have to worry about post labour. Plus i can't stand the thought of (IMO) unecessary major surgery.

That said, i live in Canada where all this is covered by our national health care program so the cost was not an issue for me. If you do decide to go natural, definitely pay the extra money for the epidural if you think you need it. (i'm kinda surprised it's not covered in Italy)

Whatever you decide, congratulations and best of luck with the delivery. There's nothing quite so amazing as becoming a mother.

And i guess we should all be grateful we live in an age where we have that choice. I once listened to my son's great grandmother (if she was still alive she would be close to 100) talk about how she delivered all her 11 children (all 9 pounders or more) naturally on the kithen table at home - YIKES!!! glad i wasn't born then...lolol

At 2:11 AM, Blogger monyv said...

Nice blog!

Hope you enjoy Italy!

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Yael said...

I'm going out on a limb here but I reckon anybody who opts for a non essential C-section is crazy. As you say Gia, it's classed as a major surgical procedure and if it's uneccessary why on earth do it?

It's not only the recovery, which must be the last thing you want to go through after your new baby has just arrived, but it's dangerous for both mother and child if it's not neccessary.

IMO there's too much focus on the negative aspects of giving birth, women go into labour frightened of the pain and that's what makes it such a terrible experience. I highly recommend Ina Maye's book about natural childbirth. If you can go in with a positive attitude your body will do what it's made to do.
I had lots of issues with my labour (mainly to do with being in an Italian hospital) but I don't regret for one moment having a drug free birth. I will never forget the feeling of the moment Lila came out, it's so truly amazing that I pity anybody who misses it because they're frightened of the pain.

At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't neccesary think that people opting for elective C section is crazy or afraid of the pain -- and when it comes to danger, natural birth has its own dangers. If you do decide to go for an elective C section, do not feel discouraged that others may think you're afraid or missing out anything. Sometimes people tend to judge ..
- Claire

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Yael said...

Claire sorry if that came across as judgemental, it wasn't supposed to be. I certainly believe in a womans right to choose, even if I don't agree with those choices.

I guess I should have said that my views come from being in a hospital bed next to a girl who'd had a c-section (non elective). She was unable to sleep, in constant pain and couldn't eat for 48 hours after the birth. She couldn't hold her baby properly and had to have her mother stay with her all through the night (which meant I didn't get any sleep either!).

I still stand by my earlier comment though, sorry to disagree Claire, I believe you are missing out on something if you choose a c-section.
Thats not a judgement...just my advice.

At 12:03 AM, Blogger traveller one said...

Why, why, why would you NOT at least first try to bring your baby into this world the way our bodies are meant to do it? At least try.

At 7:03 AM, Anonymous julienini said...

Gia. I hope your pregnancy is going along well and that you feel reat. Enjoy this time.

I had babies anturally BOTH times. No IV, no pills, no gas, no nothing. Just a will. I tell ya, feeling those babies actually moving through the birth canal is something I will never forget. Then, the 30 minutes right after the baby is born is a time that should not be missed. These were the two greatest moments of my life so far! After a c-section, you can't hold the abby right away. Sure, maybe a half hour later after 100 stitches and staples have been added to your body (HA) but not right away. My babies camme out and were put immediately on my stomach, and the doctors let the umbilical cord stay for awhile. Truly a magical experience. Of course, we all make our choices and, OF COURSE there are complications that arise. But I will say doctors and the medical establishment are trained to instill fear in their patients. Birth has been happening forever and only fairly recently has been treated like a medical problem rather thana natural event. Your body can do it, with VERY few exceptions. The dramatic rise in c-sections is not due to an increase in "problem" pregnancies.

Finally (sorry this is so long!), raising a child is much more difficult and prolonged than labor! HA! My daughter turns 7 next week and my son is 5 1/2 and I tell you, I have never worked so hard. You know, they say the first 100 years is the hardest. :)

I have some interesting reading abotu birth if you are interested, let me know.

At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi - I had my baby in Italy with no pain relief at all - AT ALL - not even gas and air! At the time I said never again but really it wasn't sooooo bad. Definitely better than major surgery. BTW you can probably book an epidural if you want one (you can in Bologna it costs about 800 euros). I did but unfortunately the anasesthist didn't turn up until after the baby! This could be a good compromise though - good luck with whatever you decide!

At 11:53 AM, Blogger Gia-Gina said...

Thank you everyone for your opinions and sharing your experiences. I love having the support of each and every one of you. See the baby blog for updates on the baby.

At 4:25 PM, Anonymous trench said...

hey Gia, just droppin in to say hello. Baby huh? wow. Im still scared to have kids with the wife.

At 8:04 AM, Blogger nateena said...

hi Gina,
I just wanted to congrat you on the baby. i had pretty good pregnancy and had nathan the old fasion way with out any medication!! ofcouse i howled like someone was killing me, but at the end after i saw Nene faces, it was a piece of cake.my pain just driff away. so, whatever you chose, it will me magical. keep me posted.
love, tina

At 5:07 AM, Blogger avery said...

First off, Congrats Gina!
I have read that Italian doctors perform an unusually high number of cesarians (I heard 35% as opposed to other European countries 15%) mainly because it is a surgery (as opposed to natural birth) and they get paid much more for performing a surgery. I'm not sure how much truth is there but that's what I have heard. i too am concerned as I am three months along and I am TERRIFIED of having a c-section. A natural birth just seems so much more, well, natural, assuming there are no complications. Also, my husband and I asked several of our friends who had babies and other mothers we know here in Italy if they had a c-section and out of about 20 only two had natural births. I guess it is all too common here.
But good luck to you and wishing you a happy and healthy pregnancy (and birth!)


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