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The effects of C-sections last long after baby is born, new study finds

There are positives AND negatives to this.

The effects of C-sections last long after baby is born, new study finds

Every mama-to-be has a vision for how they’ll give birth. For me, I planned to deliver my son vaginally, without pain medication or need for induction. But, because life rarely goes exactly as you imagine, that’s not what happened—not by a long shot.


My son was a week late, so my doctor decided to induce labor. I didn’t have that dramatic oh-my-god-my-water-broke TV moment; instead, I laid back in a hospital bed as a resident poked my amniotic sac. I laid there for hours, waiting for my son to descend. But he wouldn’t move and I wouldn’t dilate.

I needed an emergency cesarean section, which was the one thing I never planned for during pregnancy.

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Any cesarean mother will tell you that undergoing a C-section is an intense experience. Not only is it major surgery, but we also face a few short-term risks post-surgery that could make recovery even more difficult. (I still have problems with constipation and my son is almost 3 years old.)

I know this personally—and now new research details the long-term risks and benefits of C-sections.

A study published last week in PLoS Medicine found that women who’ve had a cesarean delivery have decreased risks of urinary incontinence and pelvic prolapse (when a pelvic organ drops and pushes against your vaginal walls) compared to woman who delivered vaginally.

On the flip side, C-sections carry higher risks of miscarriage, placenta previa (when the placenta covers all or part of the cervix) and other serious complications with future pregnancies, according to the findings.

But a cesarean delivery's long-term effects aren’t limited to mama.

Researchers discovered babies born via C-section also face different odds when compared to infants delivered vaginally. Specifically, cesarean babies are more likely to be overweight or obese by 5 years old, and are more prone to developing asthma during childhood. However, they are less likely to have inflammatory bowel disease.

"These findings might help enhance discussions between clinicians and patients regarding mode of delivery,” the researchers write, “meaning that patients will be better informed of the potential long-term risks and benefits of cesarean delivery for themselves, their offspring, and any future pregnancies.”

To reach these findings, a team of Scottish scientists combed through existing research on cesarean deliveries, which have increased significantly over the last two decades. In the United States alone, C-sections now represent 32% of all deliveries, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Globally, they account for 19% of births, up from 6.7% in 1990, a 2016 PLoS One study found.

As a cesarean mama, I know the myths and stigma we face post-birth. It seems the researchers do, too. They make clear in their study that the results of their analysis “should be interpreted with caution”—because the circumstances that lead to C-sections vary for just about every woman and, therefore, so do the risks.

But their research does paint a fuller picture of what it means to deliver via C-section, and that information will be helpful for any mama-to-be.

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    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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