Why Can Cesarean Deliveries Affect Women's Emotions?

Cesarean deliveries can affect women's emotions if their rights and needs are overlooked. Learn more in the following article.
Why Can Cesarean Deliveries Affect Women's Emotions?

Last update: 15 December, 2021

Cesarean deliveries can affect women’s emotions if they’re treated poorly, if they’re not given timely information, or if their rights aren’t respected.

It’s not a question of romanticizing vaginal birth or condemning cesarean delivery. It’s about accepting both procedures as valid when it comes to giving birth, as each type has its advantages. Likewise, in either of them, a distressing and painful experience can be had if the rights of the woman who’s about to give birth aren’t respected. We must remember that she’s in a very particular and very special moment in her life and she deserves to be well accompanied.

For some women, childbirth was a stressful experience because of the treatment they received. For others, it was a calm experience because they obtained the information and adequate support from their health team.

Normalizing obstetric abuse or infantilization isn’t an acceptable alternative. So, we must try to improve the treatment of mothers so as not to cause them emotional damage at a time as intense as the birth of a child.

Cesarean deliveries can affect a women’s emotions

A woman preparing for a C-section.

First of all, you have to know that the experience of giving birth involves a range of emotions: Joy, excitement, fear, anguish, anxiety, and adrenaline. So, if we take this into account, we can understand that each woman gives her own emotional tone to the experience.

However, this experience can also be conditioned by external factors. In this sense, the people who accompany us (doctors, anesthetists, nurses, among others) and the treatment they give us can make a tremendous difference.

When that treatment is humiliating, aggressive, or violent, we face a specific type of abuse called obstetric violence.

“It consists of physical abuse, humiliation, and verbal abuse, coercive or non-consensual medical procedures, failure to request informed consent, receiving a refusal to administer pain medication, neglect of care, or in serious violations of privacy “.

– World Health Organization-

On the contrary, a humanized birth, whether vaginal or by cesarean section, is one that respects the person who’s about to give birth in their autonomy, in the decision about their time, and in the satisfaction of their emotional needs and those of their baby.

On the other hand, a person who has just given birth can also be affected by the comments like “It’s not that bad”, “If the doctors decided to do things this way, they had good reason”, or “Put aside your sentimentality”. These and others can be a form of subtle abuse that’s capable of affecting the emotional state of the woman.

Some keys to keep in mind to guarantee respected Cesarean deliveries

Respected or humanized childbirth refers to that model of care that’s responsible for advising, attending to, and accompanying the needs of people who are about to give birth, their babies. and their families.

Next, we will share some essential points of respected childbirth:

  • Pregnant women must have all the information regarding the procedures. The medical staff can’t decide for their patient without first giving them all the advice and explaining the existing alternatives. Their role is to recommend according to how the case is presented, but not to decide arbitrarily.
  • Pregnant women can complete their birth plan to reflect their preferences regarding certain procedures, postures, companions, and other aspects related to the moment of giving birth.
  • When the birth occurs, it’s important that the mother be able to get to know her baby and spend the first minutes of its life in skin-to-skin contact. Exceptions are those cases where an emergency occurs or the life of either of the two is in danger. All actions that aren’t urgent can be postponed in order to promote the intimacy and the encounter of the mother and the newborn.
  • Pregnant women have the right to be accompanied by a person of their choice unless there’s a particular circumstance and risk that prevents it.
  • Medical personnel should avoid all invasive and control techniques that aren’t necessary. Likewise, they must inform the woman regarding what they consist of and explain the reasons for doing them.

Prepare for a respected delivery

A female doctor holding a pregnant woman's hands.

People who are going to give birth can arrive better prepared if they receive the necessary information in advance and know their rights. Only then can they assert and respect them.

There are numerous associations and groups interested in sensitizing the population about respected childbirth, as well as disseminating the recommendations of the WHO and other health organizations.

When in doubt, you can always consult an expert on the subject. This way, better and safer decisions can be made. In addition, it’s best to banish the myths that exist around childbirth, the postpartum period, or breastfeeding.

If the woman is in a relationship, it’s also good for her partner to be given the necessary information and that they’re aware of the decisions of the person who’s going to give birth. The emotional accompaniment of the intimate environment is key in childbirth and the postpartum period, so it’s best to ask for help from friends or family.

Finally, you should also work on your fears and anxieties about the situation. Practicing relaxation and breathing techniques can support this moment.

Any experience that goes against autonomy and respect can affect a woman’s emotions, whether in vaginal or Cesarean deliveries. We mustn’t forget that pregnant women are people who are going to give birth to their child and have the full capacity to be active protagonists in this process.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Ramos, R., Yávar, V., Del Río, A., Schettino, J., Bresciani, V., Gómez, D., Álvarez, C., & Farkas, Ch. (2020). Mode of
    Delivery and Maternal Sensitivity: Effects on the Socioemotional Development of Children at One Year of Age. Acta
    Colombiana de Psicología, 23(2), 241-253. Disponible en: http://www.doi.org/10.14718/ACP.2020.23.2.10
  • Plan de Parto y Nacimiento. Estrategia de Atención al Parto Normal. Estrategia Nacional de Salud Sexual y Reproductiva. Agencia de Calidad del Sistema Nacional de Salud. Observatorio de Salud de las Mujeres Ministerio de Sanidad, Política Social e Igualdad. Gobierno de España. Disponible en: https://www.mscbs.gob.es/organizacion/sns/planCalidadSNS/pdf/equidad/planPartoNacimiento.pdf

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.