Should I Have an Elective C-Section?

In recent years, many women have opted to book in for elective C-sections when making a birth planning for their baby. There are various reasons for choosing a cesarean birth, the most common being that Mom-to-be may be anxious about the lack of control associated with a traditional labor, or the fact that C-sections generally provide Moms-to-be with more control over when their baby is born. However, as major abdominal surgery, opting for a C-section isn’t something that should be taken lightly. It is important that you weigh up all the risks when deciding to choose this option over a The post Should I Have an Elective C-Section? appeared first on The Pulse.

Should I Have an Elective C-Section?


In recent years, many women have opted to book in for elective C-sections when making a birth planning for their baby. There are various reasons for choosing a cesarean birth, the most common being that Mom-to-be may be anxious about the lack of control associated with a traditional labor, or the fact that C-sections generally provide Moms-to-be with more control over when their baby is born.

However, as major abdominal surgery, opting for a C-section isn’t something that should be taken lightly. It is important that you weigh up all the risks when deciding to choose this option over a vaginal birth, considering how they balance out with the benefits to you and your baby.

It is worth remembering:

  • A C-section birth is certainly not the easy way out. A cesarean birth comes with a higher risk of complications than a traditional vaginal birth including a higher risk of blood loss, organ damage and infection. Whilst some of these may be minor, untreated infections can lead to serious complications such as sepsis, which can be life critical.
  • C-sections also come with a longer recovery period, with most women taking around 6 weeks after a cesarean birth to fully recover and regain full mobility. You may need more assistance post birth than you would otherwise with a traditional labor – so depending on what support you have at home, you may find those early weeks with a newborn more physically challenging.

Despite some Moms experiencing negativity around choosing cesarean births and the cruel claims of ‘too posh to push’; there are various instances where Moms should consider having an elective section:

  • Birth Anxiety – Some Moms to be can experience severe anxiety about a vaginal birth including the thought of complications, the pain endured, loss of control and its unpredictable or extended nature. In this instance, where the level of anxiety is likely to cause Mom a significant amount of distress, a cesarean birth may be deemed the more suitable option for a Mom’s mental health.
  • Multiple Birth (such as twins) – When experiencing more than one baby, your medical team may recommend a cesarean birth – as this is often deemed the safest and quickest way to ensure both babies are born quickly, without any distress.
  • Previous birth difficulties (or traumatic birth experience) – If you have previously had an emergency caesarean due to complications (or needed significant assistance in later stages of labor due to a baby becoming stuck or slow to progress), the team may decide a C-section is recommended. Whilst it is possible to have a vaginal birth after a cesarean, 90% of women who have had one, go on to have another with future pregnancies. 
  • If you have a large baby or baby is in an abnormal or breech position – If your baby is expected to have a high birth weight, or is not in the optimum birth position, a C-section may be recommended to avoid physical trauma to Mom during the labor itself. Whilst vaginal breech births are possible (and attempts can be made to turn them pre labor), a baby who is breach or back-to-back during labor can make births far more painful, longer and with a higher risk of tearing or episiotomy.
  • Chronic health conditions – if you have a chronic health condition or physical condition that would make vaginal deliveries high risk or dangerous for the Mom to be, then a vaginal birth may be off the cards. Seek advice on what is recommended for you based on your specific circumstances, as there is certainly no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to maternal health.

How and where you give birth to your baby is a very personal choice. That said, it’s important you understand all your options, the risks and benefits and how they fit with your own situation before making your choice. It’s also important to accept that at times, you won’t always get the birth plan you hoped for and the most important thing is that Mom and baby stay safe and well.

The post Should I Have an Elective C-Section? appeared first on The Pulse.

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Are Pilates and Barre Safe in Pregnancy?

The Pilates and Barre fitness trends are not going away anytime soon. For pregnant women, that is excellent news. These two lower-impact workouts are an excellent way for women to be stronger and more comfortable during pregnancy, to be better prepared for labor and to recover more easily postpartum. Stay healthy and uninjured by learning which Pilates and Barre moves are safe in pregnancy. General Safety Advice for Pilates and Barre During Pregnancy As with all exercise during pregnancy, check with your doctor first before starting a workout. Tell your teacher before class that you are pregnant. Let them know The post Are Pilates and Barre Safe in Pregnancy? appeared first on The Pulse.

Are Pilates and Barre Safe in Pregnancy?

The Pilates and Barre fitness trends are not going away anytime soon. For pregnant women, that is excellent news. These two lower-impact workouts are an excellent way for women to be stronger and more comfortable during pregnancy, to be better prepared for labor and to recover more easily postpartum. Stay healthy and uninjured by learning which Pilates and Barre moves are safe in pregnancy.

General Safety Advice for Pilates and Barre During Pregnancy

As with all exercise during pregnancy, check with your doctor first before starting a workout.

  • Tell your teacher before class that you are pregnant. Let them know about any specific aches or pains you have.
  • Stop if you feel pain, shortness of breath, dizzy, or sick.
  • Don’t be embarrassed to ask for modifications for exercises. Modification does not mean easier. It means safer.

What are Pilates and Barre?

Both Pilates and Barre focus on small movements done in precise ways. Barre combines dance, yoga and Pilates moves into a single workout.  Both are full-body exercise routines that focus on flexibility, muscular strength and endurance. Both emphasize proper postural alignment, core strength and muscle balance.

Pilates can use a specialized training apparatus called a reformer that is like a bed frame on a flat platform that rolls back and forth on wheels, but many Pilates moves can also be done of the floor.

Barre classes typically involve either a traditional bar screwed against the studio wall, like the one used by ballet dancers, but a chair, ledge, or table can also be used for the same purpose. Depending on the instructor, other props may be used in Pilates and Barre classes such as:

  • A floor matt
  • A 6” diameter soft pilates therapy ball
  • 1-5lb hand weights
  • Plastic, stretchy therabands
  • Glide disks
  • A flexible plastic circle band called a “Magic Circle”

Both can be done in a group class format in person, or on your own at home. One reason Barre and Pilates are so popular is because they are “all-inclusive” and can be adjusted to meet anyone’s fitness level, even during pregnancy.

Why Barre and Pilates are Great Pregnancy Fitness Options

We know that in general exercise during pregnancy helps you to:

  • Maintain a healthy pregnancy weight
  • Relieve pregnancy-related aches and pains
  • Boost energy levels
  • Improve your sleep
  • Reduce swelling

Pilates and Barre deliver all of these same benefits. There are some other more specific reason why so many pregnant women choose Pilates and Barre classes for their pregnancy fitness routine.  Pilates and Barre workouts:

  • Are less intense for your heart and lungs, so that you are better able keep your heart rate in baby-safe ranges.
  • Improve balance and stability.
  • Promote better posture and body alignment.
  • Increase muscle awareness and the mind-body connection.
  • Help build your core strength to prevent back injury and speed postpartum recovery.
  • Strengthen back and pelvic floor muscles to support a more comfortable pregnancy and delivery.
  • Can connect you to a great community of other active, pregnant moms if doing a pregnancy-specific Barre or Pilates class.

Barre and Pilates Moves to Avoid in Pregnancy:

It can be tough to keep up with your body’s almost daily changes during pregnancy. That is why it is important to listen to your body and not push yourself if something doesn’t feel right when exercising. A knowledgeable and experienced Barre or Pilates teacher can be a fantastic resource, especially if they are trained to teach pregnancy-specific classes.  These are some of the key precautions to keep in mind if you want to continue with Pilates or Barre for your whole pregnancy:

  • Don’t overstretch. Relaxin, a pregnancy hormone, can make many of your joints more flexible and easier to injure. Be careful to not overstretch.
  • Avoid lying flat on your back. You can modify with side-lying, standing or seated exercises.
  • No bending forward from your hips.
  • Transition between positions slowly and carefully, especially when going from mat work, to standing, or on the reformer to avoid dizziness or feeling faint.
  • Always stabilize with at least three body parts grounded while exercising, like a tripod. For example: Two knees and at least on hand on the ground would be three grounded body parts. Remember that your center of gravity changes as your hips widen and your bump grows. It becomes easier for you to lose your balance.
  • No deep turns or abdominal twists (too much stress on low back or knees).
  • Avoid cobra/bow pose (too much strain on your abdomen). Instead, do a cat/cow pose (kneeling over on your hands and knees, arch your back down as you breathe in, then arch your back up as you exhale).
  • Don’t use the stall barre. A stall barre is a set of vertical barres where students can hang from their hands to stretch the lower back. Due to the potential risk of slipping (and because your growing baby belly will eventually get in the way), you should avoid using the stall barre for your entire pregnancy.
  • Keep your feet parallel if you’re experiencing sciatica. Turned-out leg exercises can aggravate sciatica, which is most common during the third trimester.
  • Keep one foot on the floor during abdominal exercises. For all floor core exercises, be sure to press your back firmly into the ground or and keep at least one foot flat on the floor at all times to avoid straining your abdomen.
  • Instead of traditional planks, try a wall plank so that you don’t hurt your core or back. There are several variations you can try to find the safest planks in pregnancy.
  • The Pilates Abdominal Scoop or C-shape. At a certain point, usually by the beginning of your second trimester, the posture used for crunches in Pilates and Barre will put you at risk for hurting your core and potentially cause separation of your abdominal muscles called diastasis rectus.
  • Percussive movements such as sharp pilates kicks or reformer exercises.
  • The Reformer in the Third Trimester, or make sure to be very careful getting on and off later it later in pregnancy.

Pilates and Barre Are Safe In Pregnancy With Easy Modifications

The best pregnancy fitness plan is one which keeps you and your baby healthy, safe, and feeling good. Pilates and Barre classes are great low-impact exercise options because they benefit your muscles and joints both during pregnancy and during your postpartum recovery. Because they promote core strength and stability, muscle control, and and good posture, they cultivate balanced flexibility, strength and greater mind-body awareness. One of the best parts about Pilates and Barre is that they can easily be adapted to your body’s changes over the course of your pregnancy.  By following the simple list of precautions listed here, you can safely make Pilates and Barre a part of your healthy pregnancy fitness routine.

The post Are Pilates and Barre Safe in Pregnancy? appeared first on The Pulse.

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