Do C-sections hurt more than natural births?

Some people say that having a C-section is the “easy way out” and others say that they really want to deliver naturally and want to try to avoid one. I know C-sections have a long healing process, but do they hurt more, the same or less than a natural birth?

I’m assuming it depends on some things?

I think I might need to have one as my doctor told me that I could possibly have a sub-set uterus. (I’m not having children anytime soon though).

I haven’t had a vaginal birth but I did have a c-section.

The easy way out thing comments makes my blood boil (not at you for saying but for the loads of people who keep this myth going). You do not have to push a baby out but they cut through multiple layers of skin, muscle and tissue. You are medicated and should not feel this actually happening, though you do feel a ton of pressure when they pull the baby out. You then cannot lift/carry anything heavier than your baby, cannot cough, sneeze or laugh without pain for quite awhile, it hurts to walk, etc. I had to sleep on a couch for 2 months post partum because I couldn’t climb the stairs to my room. My incision also came open and I had an infection. It was a rough bit of time, all while trying to take care of and enjoy my new baby. I also had numerous people make comments about the easy way out, how I didn’t actually give birth, saying that my doctor was evil and tricked me into a c-section, blah blah blah.

I don’t inclue those details to be scary or complain. It was my experience. Everyone is different, too, and so is every delivery. A c-section saved my son and I, as well as countless others. Not everyone can have a vaginal birth and that’s okay.
It isn’t the easy way out at all, by any means. That narrative is nothing but parent-shaming that puffs up the ego of the person saying it. Same as the whole epidural vs none, midwife vs obgyn, breastmilk vs formula and so on. Every parent has to find what works best for them or sometimes the path they end up on isn’t necessarily their first choice but is what ended up happening. Generally, yeah a major surgery isn’t going to be anyone’s first choice…but it happens.

Edit: I don’t mean to insinuate that people only choose one option over the other (breast vs bottle, etc) to be superior. I more am referring to that holier than thou, shameful attitude that a sad number of people take on when talking about this stuff.

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C-section here. I don’t see how a heavy surgery where you get your insides cut and have to take care of a newborn instead of recovering can be seen as an easy way out. Also, not all VB are equal but while the couple of girls I got to see like two hours after them giving birth were happily going around and welcoming guests, I could even sit, let alone get up for a couple days, I couldn’t keep my baby at night because I was unable to even pick her up. I needed the nurses to put her on my chest. After getting back home I was under heavy painkillers 24/7 for a couple of weeks. I never take any painkiller even when I’m sick because I’m stubborn, but at that moment, skipping even one was out of the question.
Not to mention the trauma of an emergency C-section.

I do think VB is more painful while giving birth. But recovery from C-section is anything but easy.

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I’ve had 4 vaginal births but no c-section. A c-section was something I wanted to avoid unless it was because of the safety of my child or me, not because it was the “easy way out”, on the contrary. Recovering from a c-section takes more time. Of course you can get tearing with a vaginal birth, which isn’t fun at all to say the least.

When I was pregnant with the twins, there was a lot of pressure from some health professionals to have a c-section because of the risks involved with having multiples with a vaginal birth, but I refused because I did my research and knew that it was safe in my case.

Of course I completely support having a c-section when the mother or child is in danger. And apart from that, every woman is free to choose whatever works best for her and her child. I do feel, however, that sometimes a c-section is “promoted” even though it’s unnecessary.

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C section mama here :raising_hand_woman:t3:

I had a planned c section as a result of Tokophobia. I didn’t know I had this condition until I became pregnant with my delightful daughter and terrifying all consuming thoughts took over me in relation to vaginal birth. I was seen by psychosexual health therapist through our amazing NHS who said due experiencing sexual abuse in a domestically abusive relationship they believe I have Tokophobia and recommended a caesarean. Armed with their knowledge and recommendations I had my c section booked and my daughter was born.

It was a relief knowing that I was going to have a caesarean and I think people thought I felt it was a relief because it was the ‘easy way out’. I actually had people joke that I thought I was too ‘posh to push’ which is why I was having a caesarean. Honestly it’s bizarre as no one would judge the way you have a tooth extracted why is there is much judgement behind the way you give birth? [name_f]My[/name_f] feminist mind jumps straight to the patriarchy and how society likes to take choice away from women but that’s a topic for a different day… anyways I was definitely subject to judgement/jokes/general mum shame about the way I was going to deliver my child. Surprisingly I receive a lot of judgement from mums who have had natural births there appears to be a superiority complex behind natural birthers/parents who do things naturally compared to those who seek medical intervention/choose formula etc. Honestly completely agree with everything @namergirl3 said. Parental judgement is a complex issue!

Onto the caesarean/recovery itself the whole day was a blur. I had an epidural my body went kinda numb but I felt an intense pulling sensation it was like being on a horrible rollercoaster I felt sick and it was just really weird then my beautiful baby was born. After that it was a blur. I was then brought up to the recovery ward and I was in so much pain it was indescribable. I couldn’t walk, sit up, take care of my baby, go to the loo unaided and I lost tons of blood so had to have two transfusions. A few days after having [name_f]Lilia[/name_f] still in hospital I had a bad reaction to pain meds. The left side of my face fell, I couldn’t speak and I looked like I had stroke I was intensive care it was really scary. I recovered (obviously, thankfully) and was released from hospital. After a week of being released I had extreme stomach pains and was taken to hospital again due to an infection as a result of my stitches. I was then released again from hospital still in extreme pain, struggling to look after my daughter but with antibiotics. During this period I struggled to look after my daughter, complete tasks and look after myself. It was hard!!! Took me 4.5 months to recover after having [name_f]Lilia[/name_f] during this time I bled continuously, had numerous trips to A&E, two infections in my stitches and became very anaemic so would faint, suffer with dizziness and confusion. Let’s just say there was nothing easy about it my birth/recovery was a very hard time of my life and has made me relieved that now 2 years on it’s very much in the past.

Mamas are heroes there is no easy way to give birth that’s for certain!

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It depends on so many factors. If you DON’T medically need one, then I’d def go for vaginal - a c-section is major abdominal surgery, and there can be some risk of uterine rupture in future pregnancies. But if you need it, you need it.

Personally, I’ve had both, both sucked. Vaginal birth was ventouse with no pain relief that tore back to the muscles around my anus, c-section was a traumatic emergency one and I vomited on the operating table and could barely walk the first few days afterward and was not allowed to pick up my 2 year old for 6 weeks :woman_shrugging:

Sometimes birth goes pretty well, sometimes it really sucks! But luckily there’s great medical care these days, and the kids are cute at least :joy:

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Thank you so much for your replies everyone. I’m even more scared about giving birth now lol, but it will be worth it.

[name_m]Just[/name_m] in case anyone was wondering, I don’t think that c-sections are the “easy way out” and I have no problem with anyone getting them because for one thing it doesn’t effect me how someone else gives birth and some women obviously need to get them or are recommended them by doctors. Getting cut open also sounds really scary too.

I just wanted to learn more about this sort of thing in case I need to get a c-section and I wanted to have more of an idea of what to expect. But yeah, no matter how you give birth - it’s going to be super hard.

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I’ve never had a c section however I want to chime in and say I had good experiences with my deliveries. My first time going through labor was scary because I didnt know what was going to happen, but it wasnt nearly as bad as my mind made it out to be. And my second delivery, knowing what to expect was an honestly wonderful experience! They were in no way a horrifying or traumatic experiences and I had 100% natural no pain med deliveries (not by choice).

I know friends who have had c-sections and while recovery is not fun and I wouldnt say anyone loves having major surgery they have good memories of their delivieries. (Personally I think it doesnt matter what kind of birth you have recovery will always kind of suck, but its not some strange scary experience usually, its what you would expect from having major surgery or having a major medical experience)

And as you’ve heard both natural and c sections can hurt and cause major trauma, but it can be said as well that both c sections and natural birth can be wondeful experiences!

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I didn’t mean to scare you!

[name_f]My[/name_f] sister had the most amazing 4 hour home births in a birthing pool and then would be up the next morning offering everyone else a cup of tea :rofl: And I’ve also heard that planned c-sections can be a nice experience.

It’s just a bit of a gamble how things will go for each person and each delivery. I’ve had unexpected placental issues both times which made my births more traumatic - there was urgency to get them out, fear, etc.

Also the adrenaline and oxytocin do wonders at getting you through whatever does happen, and these gorgeous wee kids are SO worth it.

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I’ve given birth both ways. There are cons to both but I preferred giving birth the “natural way” only because I bounced back almost immediately. I also developed a hernia after my C-section.

My spinal for the C-section wasn’t flawless and it was very painful when they miss - having to stay still during that was incredibly hard! The medicine was pretty strong once it worked but being strapped down its hard to vomit laying down with head turned. I was so nervous that it really took away from my experience. I personally didn’t feel pressure or tugging during the surgery which was nice.

With the vaginal birth my epidural went great! Contractions are intense, during one I had to close my eyes and not have hands on me. My husband just wanted to comfort hug me but I just freaked. Pushing is difficult, I pushed so hard I blew vessels in my face and eyes. I had all these dots over my face looked like freckles and one eye was fully red… It looked pretty scary like I got beat up. I was able to walk about an hour after and the first bathroom experience wasn’t that bad.

However you give birth its going to be hard.

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I’ve done a ton of research. I’ve read the ACOG practice guidelines. I’ve been counseled by ob after ob, and so many of them make recommendations based on personal experience rather than scientific, peer-reviewed studies. I’ve read every cs awareness book, every vbac book in our local libraries, and there are many because I live in a city with a vast interlibrary system.

I’ve had 4 cs so far and I’m pregnant with my 5th. I’ve been coerced and lied to. I’ve been manipulated and experienced the bait and switch of supposedly “supportive” medical providers. [name_f]My[/name_f] counsel comes with baggage, so know that as I express concern at hearing your diagnosis. What rational does your doctor have for recommending you deliver by way of cs? What studies have been done on women with a “sub-set” uterus? I hate to doubt the ones whom we’re supposed to trust… but they have lives they have to protect too. They have experienced lawsuits because of things outside of their control, which is completely unfair. We live in a really messed up world where you really can’t trust doctors completely.

So, I’ve never experienced vaginal birth. It’s caused great concern in those I love every time we announce a new pregnancy.

I’m rambling.

The overwhelming fear of the ob is uterine rupture. Likelihood of that happening is a whopping 3% (That’s because I’ve had 4 cs surgeries-- it’s not something you should even worry about). It’s more likely before 38 weeks which I can’t control anyway). The likelihood that something catestrophic happening to a baby after uterine rupture is less than 1%. That’s 0.03 times 0.01! It’s really really unlikely, but does happen. You have to compare that number to the obvious risks of repeat surgery. I’ve been to 4 hospitals and innumerable doctors and every time I find that the risks of surgery are wrongfully diminished while risks of cs are exaggerated to suit the needs of the doctor.

I’m trying to say that you have to do some research before you just go with whatever your doc recommends. [name_f]Do[/name_f] not fear your doctor. I fired mine at 38wks last pregnancy because of many reasons but the final straw was when they tried to manipulate me with a fearful story. They said my “bladder would explode if I went into labor because of all of my surgeries.” I made a decision based on science and research and faith… not because I was a sheep just believing whatever the doctor ordered, and I feel so much better about that last CS because it was my choice.

I’m so happy that you’re asking questions now. You’re not even a mom yet, but I know you’re going to be an amazing mom

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I’ve had both a c-section and two VBACS (hoping for a 3rd)….

In the moment delivery is more painful with vaginal. But I’ve also toned that with an epidural in each case….

C-section was unplanned but something I demanded after a really too long of a labor. And while I was thankful it was an option Incoukd demand I’ve tried my hardest to avoid a repeat of it since. In the delivery room you are literally strapped down- I couldn’t hold my baby until they released the straps which didn’t happen until after I was glued back together. [name_f]My[/name_f] baby was placed over my face before I could hold him. Then there was the 6 weeks of recovery which off the bat involved catheters and hard mobility and weeks of physical recovery making little movements like sneezing, coughing, laughig, hiccups painful. I slept sitting up for weeks. With my vbacs the recovery was really quick with my 3rd I was even like wait a second I’m walking around like normal without thinking about it and my baby is only a couple hours old…. So for recovery purposes if there’s a way to avoid c-sections I recommend it. Additionally there is increased risk with each subsequent c-section which is additionally why I’ve tried to avoid it. I’m not sure where you are located but there’s a supportive group you can look up on-line called ICAN (international cesarean awareness network)…. They advocate for being fully informed about as you look at making the choices that are right for you and your situation.

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I had a C-section with my twins. I could deliver my one twin naturally but the second twin was stuck in my rib cage transverse and it was debatable if he was able to twist head down so we decided a C-section was everyone’s safest option.

[name_f]My[/name_f] water broke at 36 weeks and when I got to the hospital in active labor I was already 6 cm dilated so my C-section happened within a few hours of me arriving.

Overall I would say my birth was a positive experience. Though it was weird that because my son was so high I could feel him moving during the procedure. Minimal pain overall, able to stand within 12 hours, overall able to function and care for my twins within 2 weeks of my C-section. (Before that I needed assistance with a lot of things. [name_m]Even[/name_m] getting in the shower I couldn’t lift my legs high enough the first 10 days alone)

[name_f]My[/name_f] advice for C-section parents is keep up on your pain meds the first two weeks, try to move but don’t overdo it, and take your stool softeners. And buy microfiber soft high waisted underwear and pants that you are cool with throwing away if needed. I wore night gowns and high waisted PJ pants the first 3 weeks, even to the doctor

I hope however your birth is the easiest and best way for you and your baby’s safety.

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Throwing my experience into the mix. [name_f]My[/name_f] first was vaginal with an epidural. [name_f]My[/name_f] second was vaginal without an epidural. (By the time the anesthesiologist got there, I was fully dilated and it was too late :scream:) [name_f]My[/name_f] third was a C-section.

Obviously, delivering vaginally without an epidural was the most painful (more pain than should be humanly possible). But it’s one of those things that you miraculously make it through. For me, there was definitely a high I got from making it through that. And recovery was faster and easier for me.

I didn’t want a C-section, but it was out of necessity. The procedure itself was not painful. I couldn’t feel anything. Recovery was longer and more difficult. But still doable, and worth it.

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[name_f]My[/name_f] 1st was a C-section and my 2 subsequent births were vaginal at home so no meds. The recovery of the C-section was by far worse than giving birth naturally. Plus I absolutely hated having to take the meds while breastfeeding and not feeling like I was at my best so I could really enjoy my newborn. I’m one of those mom’s who struggled to connect with her baby after the C-section. I no issue after my natural births. Now I’m trying to conceive my 4th and I will absolutely be having an at home birth with a midwife.

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I am loving hearing all of your birth stories! Thank you all for sharing!

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