Marie Fell - The Pilates Physio

Abdominal Birth

Let’s talk about WORD CHOICE surrounding caesarean birth.

How did the word Caesarean birth come to be?

Caesarean birth was according to some named after “Caesar” as in Julius Caesar who was born via his mother’s abdomen! However others say that the term caesarean arose from the Latin verb “caedre” which means to cut open and the term “caesones” which was used when babies were born by postmortem operations.

The word operation was replaced by “section” when a book was first published on midwifery practice in 1598.

So, from dire surgical practices that often saw a c-section being performed to save the child and not the mother, we have advanced a long way, thank goodness!

Giving birth is BIRTH…

However, there is also an undertone of surgical birth ‘v’ vaginal birth as one being superior to the other. We need to talk about this amongst others who have birthed babies to reduce this stigma and normalise ALL BIRTHS.

​A vaginal birth that used mechanical aids like forceps can lead to that individual having a prolapse or a severe perineal tear that then impacts that person’s life forever.

Another may have had a planned c-section and had a wonderful birth with no post operative complications, support at home and recovery that was enviable with no pelvic health problems thereafter.

There is no such thing as a superior birth.

But, can we improve the image and the connotations given to a c-section birth by calling it ABDOMINAL BIRTH?

​Have you heard others talking about “HOW” did you give birth and it made you feel uncomfortable or equally were you not phased?

We are all different.
We are all unique.
There is no one right or wrong for all.

​I personally like the wording Abdominal birth.

​AND REMEMBER, it doesn’t matter if your baby came up and out through your sunroof or down and out through your love tunnel, YOUR PELIVC FLOOR was still sat and bounced on for NINE MONTHS (give or take for some) so your pelvic floor exercises are for LIFE 🙂.

It’s important we highlight the word BIRTH here as often a surgical birth can leave many of us feeling like we didn’t achieve a vaginal “natural” birth. This is largely due to media and stereotypes but there should be no shame in HOW you birthed your baby and we must keep normalising all birth is BIRTH.

A caesarean section is not the easy option.

It is major abdominal surgery that requires SEVEN layers of skin, muscle, fat and fascia to be incised before your baby can be born safely.

It is also worth mentioning that yes your ABDOMINAL muscles are cut, but so is your UTERUS and they require a period of healing.

We use our abdominal muscles to help us breathe deeply, hold up our posture, move from different positions and so post abdominal birth there is a period of discomfort, inflammation and healing required.

Ironically the gift after this surgery, unlike any other is a newborn baby and all the tasks that come with it. Rest and recovery is not prescribed nor is post surgical rehab unlike most other operations.

So please try and recognise your body is healing and whilst gentle exercise in terms of mobility is encouraged little and often, it’s not sensible to rush back to x,y or z be that the school run, your ironing pile, answering work e-mails, etc.

Your body needs to heal.

Movement helps that process but so to does REST.

Different types of abdominal birth

Abdominal births may be planned for example if your baby is breech (sat upright rather than head down), you have placenta previa where your placenta is covering the os (exit out of your uterus) and more.

Many of us will experience an “emergency caesarean” whereby something has happened during our active labour that has not progressed enough or there are signs of baby being distressed. This can be a quick trip to theatre or it can still be relatively calm and controlled.

Also there is a crash caesarean section which is where the procedure is performed immediately often under a general anaesthetic (where you are asleep) because there is imminent risk to the life of your baby or yourself.