There are definitive medical reasons for scheduling a C-section delivery. Many of these reasons ultimately help reduce the risk of labor complications or the C-section is used as an emergency delivery option if fetal complications are observed. However, there is an increase in number of women choosing voluntary C-sections for convenience and to reduce the pain and length of delivery. While this option is in the hot seat with many medical professionals, it does not stop some doctors from agreeing to optional C-section deliveries. Doctors who disprove of the practice now have a bit more fuel for the fire. Researchers report natural births signals the release of a protein responsible for portions of brain function and development. In C-section deliveries the protein boost was not present.
Natural Birth v. Cesarean Delivery
Natural birth is not necessarily defined as painful birth. Women often think they have to skip pain medications to have a natural birth, but that’s not the case. Natural birth can be assisted with oxytocin to speed up progression and pain killers can be used to reduce the pain of labor and contractions.
C-section deliveries, on the other hand, are invasive deliveries requiring surgery. The same pain medications are often used for C-section deliveries as natural deliveries, but the process is completed in an operating room with an incision through the abdomen and uterus. Delivery via C-section can take less than 15 minutes, in some cases, once preparation for surgery is complete.
Now, What About This Brain Boosting Protein?
The protein at the heart of the report is UCP2 or the mitochondrial uncoupling protein 2. The protein is directly connected with brain development, memory and metabolization of fats. In animal studies, natural birth resulted in higher UCP2 levels. C-section deliveries resulted in lower UCP2 levels and altered hippocampal function.
Whether or not this study moves from animals to humans is not yet known, but it gives women something to think about when they are debating whether to ask for a voluntary C-section. One of the best parts of pregnancy is that time when you’re waiting for your body to finally be ready to give birth. Take it from a woman who could never have a natural birth – you are missing out on a big adventure that C-sections just don’t offer.