Whitesburg KY
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C-section not done to avoid labor pain



DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I am in the eighth month of my first pregnancy. I’ve a friend who keeps telling me to have a C-section. She says it’s quick and painless. I never considered this and wonder about its wisdom. What would you recommend? Does having a C-section mean all future deliveries have to be done the same way? — K.M.

ANSWER: Cesarean sections can be lifesaving for the infant and for the mother. The reasons for having one don’t include speed of delivery simply for speed’s sake or for avoiding labor pain. You realize that a C-section involves surgical incisions, which, after the anesthesia wears off, are painful. And you realize that you have to recuperate from this operation as you would from any operation.

Furthermore, all surgery involves potential dangers and complications. Serious bleeding is always possible. The uterus can become infected. Injuries to other pelvic organs can occur.

Natural childbirth is painful, but the pain can be minimized in a number of effective ways. I believe you’ll be surprised at how tolerable childbirth is.

As for future pregnancies, the standard teaching used to be that once a woman had a C-section, all her future deliveries had to be C-sections. That’s no longer true. Second deliveries after a C-section can be vaginal deliveries, depending on some important circumstances. One of those is where the incision for the section was made.

Have you discussed this with your doctor? Do so. I’ll be surprised if the doctor agrees to a C-section solely to avoid pain and speed delivery.

Questions on cervical cancers and Pap smears are answered in detail in the booklet on those topics. Readers can order a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue — No. 1102W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853- 6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Canada with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.


DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Our 22-year-old granddaughter has developed an uncontrollable giggle. She giggles before, during and after everything she says. Each time we talk to her, the giggles and their frequency get worse. She is basically shy and appears to be nervous, and says she is not consciously aware of her giggling. She says her friends have remarked on this, too. Is this a tic disorder? Is there something a doctor can do to help her? Is there medication? — S.N.

ANSWER: Underlying anxiety, stress, shyness and social phobia set in motion reflex defenses for people who harbor these traits. It’s their way of coping with situations that generate discomfort. It’s not a tic, although it is somewhat similar. Both are involuntary.

I would first talk to the young lady in a compassionate way and tell her that this behavior is misinterpreted by people and that she should make a conscious effort to suppress the giggling. Only if the giggling cannot be controlled and only if it’s causing her to suff er socially would I turn to medical people for help. Yes, there are treatments and medicines that can control anxiety and phobias, but a trial of self-treatment should come first.

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