Tag Archives: first-time mum

We shouldn’t give first-time Mums elective Caesareans – we should give them more midwives and tell them to ‘man-up’

THERE’S new guidance about to be issued to the NHS which will allow all pregnant women to request a caesarean – even if they don’t ‘need’ one.

It appears that a growing number of first-time mothers think that having an elective ‘pre-booked’ caesarean – rather than having to have one on medical grounds – will help avoid the pain of natural childbirth and keep their figure.

I’ve been lucky enough not to need a caesarean having any of my babies (if I knew then what I know now, they’d ALL have been home-births).

Therefore maybe I’m not best placed to try to deter any new mums-to-be from thinking elective c-section is easier and safer. (But you know me, I’ll have a go).

Everyone I’ve known who has had to have a caesarean has said how frightening it was. After all, it’s a major operation.

You have to sign a consent form, and there are several people in the operating theatre, including surgeons, an anaesthetist, theatre staff, midwives and a paediatrician.

You’ll probably need a spinal injection; an epidural, and have your pubic area shaved for the incision. After experiencing the strange sensation of having someone rummaging around in your insides, you get to meet your baby.

More rummaging occurs as the placenta is removed and then your stomach has to be sewn up again, which, because it involves layers of muscle, fat and skin, can take around 40 minutes. The final layer is either stapled or stitched.

Either way, it’s a major, painful wound that will take several weeks to heal. For this reason most mums who have had to have a caesarean are kept in hospital longer than those who don’t. You will find it difficult to bend and lift, and will have to take painkillers for the first few weeks at least. You’ll still get the agonising ‘afterpains’ that come after all births as the uterus contracts and have to wear pads for bleeding. Did I mention that internal surgery also gives really bad wind?

You aren’t allowed to drive for six weeks after the operation, and if you do, your car insurance is likely to be invalid.

The World Health Organisation estimates that only ten per cent of women should be having c-sections yet in some areas of the UK it’s up to 30 per cent, notably in the ‘wealthier’ South East.

There’s a distinct difference between ‘too-posh-to-push’ and mothers who have experienced a very traumatic labour and have had to have an emergency c-section. These mums have some insight into whether a caesarean would be a better option, in consultation with their midwife, for any further births.

So why are so many first-timers so taken with the idea of caesareans? Is it really the image touted by the celebrity media?

Are we really now a generation refusing to even contemplate any pain, any inconvenience to our schedules, any changes to our body-shape by life experience?

How come women are so willing to undergo the surgeon’s knife and the associated pain and scarring of plastic surgery for their looks, yet not even contemplate at least trying give birth the way nature intended?

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Mums get too big for their boots

 I APOLOGISE in advance to those of you who may be pregnant with your first baby, but putting on weight is the least of your post-natal physical problems.

Denise Van Outen revealed last week how she’s given away some of her stupidly-expensive designer shoes because her feet have grown a size since giving birth to her daughter.

While I could spend the next 500 words making columnist-like comments about how she’s already back in her pre-pregnancy size-ten designer dresses, and that celebrities are not in a position to be telling Real People how hard life is, I’ll try to be helpful instead.

Your body will NOT be like it was before you had a baby. It just won’t. You are going to be different in lots of ways once you force another human being out of your nether regions. And that’s not something you should fight.

My feet went from a five and a half to a seven after having kids. During pregnancy it was one of the many discomforts that caught me out, along with chronic heartburn, restless-legs (hard to explain but very annoying) and a ‘metallic’ taste in my mouth. At least I didn’t get bad morning sickness with the latter three pregnancies. Just a couple of weeks of urging.

The enlarged feet issue was put down to water-retention by my midwives. I was given the impression that after the birth they would shrink back to their normal-for-a-five-foot-six-woman size.

They didn’t.

I spent my pregnancies in trainers and flat pumps (can’t stand the feeling of toe-posts in flip-flops) and now stomp about in whopping great size sevens.

The swelling went down but I remain flat-footed with painful fallen-arches, a curse that I tried to blame on genetics but should probably accept is due to my preference for very flat footwear with no internal support whatsoever (and the fact that even before I had the excuse of motherhood I might politely be termed as ‘a big girl.’)

If you are suffering from agonising pain in your feet then I heartily recommend you ask for a referral to the podiatry team at your hospital. They will at least fit you with a pair of arch supports to go in the one pair of shoes that might still have enough room to squeeze your aching trotters into. You may be lucky, your feet may return to their normal size.

But then before you’ve even started to address your post-natal weight-gain, you’ve got to accept that the boobs that will forever point south, the stretch marks will not disappear with expensive lotions and those thread veins on your legs are yours for life.

Embrace the bigger feet, the squidgy stomach, and the boobs that threaten to suffocate you when tying your children’s laces. They are the indicators of a new stage of your womanhood. You might have the physical scars of battle but you’ve got a baby to show for it.

Quite possibly the most important thing you should accept as truth is as follows:

Unless you truly, honestly, remember to do your pelvic floor exercises EVERY DAY, once you become a mother you will occasionally pee when you get a bad cough or laugh.

I know. It’s a shock. Those Tena Lady adverts are aimed at older woman and you’ll feel like a pensioner when you have to buy them at the age of 27. I hope if you’re pregnant you will be clenching as you read this.

I’m sure that ‘occasional bladder-weakness’ is one side-effect of pregnancy that you won’t see the too-big-for-their-boots celebrities talking about on the red carpet.


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