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MIDWIFE thinks ‘unrealistic’ expectations affect C-section mums’ body confidence

More women than ever before are choosing to give birth by elective caesarean in the region, according to recent figures.

But a new survey has revealed a huge drop in confidence suffered by mums who have undergone the procedure.

Midwife Emily Street, from Hale, said: “Unfortunately there is still a stigma attached to C sections and it can make mums feel as if they have not ‘properly’ given birth.

“If they have not had the birth they wanted their confidence can suffer, and the scars left behind can be a constant reminder of that.”

In the survey, carried out by Fagron UK, who produce C-section scar gel Nourisil™ MD Silicone Scar Gel, more than half of mums said they felt too self-conscious about their bodies to wear swimwear or tight clothes.

40 per cent said they were ‘concerned or upset’ by the appearance of their scar, while 29 per cent said they felt too self conscious about their appearance to get undressed in front of their partners.

At Countess of Chester Hospital caesarians make up 30 per cent of births, figures from the NHS show, with 430 elective caesarians and 457 emergency caesarians in the period 2016/17.

At nearby East Cheshire NHS Trust there were 457 caesarians and 931 spontaneous births in the same period.

At Mid Cheshire Hospitals caesarians make up 27 per cent of births, with similar figures at Warrington and Halton NHS Trust.

Emily, of independent midwifery company Bump & Me, continued: “During pregnancy the tummy is stretched and with a normal delivery it tends to go back. When the tummy has been cut with a C section, it tends not to.

“After such major surgery you would usually take some time off work to rest and recuperate and allow yourself to heal.

“But with a C section it’s really hard to do that and I think people expect so much these days. Women can look around at others and think ‘why am I not bouncing back?’

“Now very often hospitals do enhanced recovery where 24 hours after a C section you’re back at home. A mum’s focus generally then isn’t on herself, but is on the baby. She can be carrying the baby around for hours on end and sees jobs around the house that she wants to get done.

“More and more there’s situations of scars breaking down and the wound becoming infected. And I think that’s because the mum is not having enough time to recover.”

Nourisil™ MD Silicone Scar Gel contains five silicones and vitamin E which has been proven to fade, smooth and flatten scars while receiving associated pain and discomfort.

The gel includes polysiloxanes and tocopheryl acetate and works on all skin types by forming an invisible layer that hydrates and protects scars on all areas of the body, including the face.

After C sections wounds have fully healed and stitches have been removed, women are advised to gently massage Nourisil™ MD Silicone Scar Gel in twice a day.

Emily continued: “There’s less post-natal care around these days and we don’t have midwives who are checking up on mums and looking at their wounds.

“I regularly get phone calls from mums who are a little unsure about what is happening because they don’t know what to expect.

“They don’t know how their scar should look at two to three days, or don’t know that at four to five days it can generally look worse because that’s when all the bruising comes out.

“I think it’s very hard for mums to ask for help because feel like they should be able to do it all.”

Reflecting on changing attitudes, Emily said: There’s the saying that it takes a village to raise a child, but there isn’t that mentality anymore. There isn’t that same support.

“A lot of mums choose to have babies later on in life, and their parents are obviously older and less able to provide help. Or people tend to move away from home these days and don’t have friends and family on their doorstep that they can call on.

“I advise my mums to tell people that if they want to come and see the baby they must bring a lasagne. It’s practical help like that that can make such a difference.

“I also tell my mums to wear their pyjamas when people come over. That way visitors are aware that you are a patient.

“We’re so English, and so desperate to get everything under control that we’re at risk of losing it.

“But it’s important for mums to remember that their body has done something amazing.”

Peter Batty, of Nourisil™ MD Silicone Scar Gel, added: “Our research has shown that women can become incredibly self conscious about their bodies and their scars following C section surgery.

“Many hope to lose their scars and get their bodies back – but it’s important to remember this should always be done in a sensible way and within a reasonable time frame.

“It’s easy to look at others and think mums are ‘bouncing back’ a lot quicker, but a C section is a major abdominal surgery and should be treated as such. Having good support is key, as is allowing yourself enough time to properly heal.”

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