Sorry To Break It To You Kim Kardashian, But Elective C-Sections Aren’t Glamorous Or Pain-Free

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shutterstock_135391739__1371299750_142.196.156.251I think every woman gets to the point in her pregnancy when she suddenly realizes that this little bundle of joy that is kicking inside of her is going to have to come out. Yes, I guess we theoretically realize from the get-go that it’s how things work, but I’m telling you that there is always a moment of panic when you stop, look down at your huge belly and think, Holy shit. How are you going to come out of there? I think Kim Kardashian is at that point, since there are now rumors that she is going the elective c-section route.

LIfe & Style magazine reports, “sources say her sights are set on surgery — “telling her girlfriends at her June 2 baby shower that she is petrified about giving birth and would do anything for it not to hurt.” I don’t want to rain on anyone’s fear parade – but c-sections hurt. A lot. Obviously not during the procedure. You can’t feel anything but pressure while it’s going on. But afterwards? Standing, walking, peeing, laughing, sneezing, coughing – all of these benign actions produce pangs of pain I didn’t know were possible.

The magazine also reports that Kanye West is adamantly against any unnecessary medical procedures – c-section included. You may remember that his mother tragically died after cosmetic surgery gone wrong. I think he has a reason to be a little paranoid here.

Couples should have their babies in whatever way they see fit. But I always shake my head at the whole “too posh to push” notion. Recovering from a c-section is not exactly glamorous. Ask the nurse who administers suppositories to the women recovering from c-sections on the labor and delivery ward.

I know there are some people who claim to have no pain with childbirth – but I think on the whole it’s better to just realize that yes, this baby is going to need to come out and it’s probably going to hurt at some point. I wish I had a natural labor of my own to reference, but I don’t. I just have stories of friends who have told me that recovering from a vaginal birth and the pain of labor is no walk in the park. And I have my own reference point – having had two c-sections – to know that recovering from a c-section is painful, too.

Sorry Kim. You’re probably not going to be able to avoid pain at some point. I know it’s scary – but what everyone says is true. Looking at your baby’s cute little fingers and toes will get you through the rough parts.

(photo: Featureflash/ Shutterstock)


  1. LinZoo

    June 15, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I had a natural birth and found the recovery to be very easy and fast. I wasn’t doing jumping jacks or anything, and I had to do the spritz baths on my vagina because I had stitches from first degree tearing. But I was no longer in pain after the birth, and I was able to get up and go to the bathroom on my own. Nurses kept coming in and asking if I needed anything for pain, or they would give me creams for *down there* and I asked what it was for, and they said “for the pain.” And I said, “Am I supposed to be in pain?” Because I wasn’t. The labor itself was very painful, from what little I remember, because I had back labor, and there was sharp pain down there when the head and body came out, but I didn’t feel any ring of fire. I don’t remember much of what was bad about it, because of the hormones, I was on another planet.

    For women who get 3rd or 4th degree tearing, although that is rare, I bet some of them might wish they could do it all over again and get a c-section. It is a reality that during birth you can sustain permanent damage that makes you incontinent or “never the same again.” (Urinary and/or fecal incontinence. A coworker’s baby came out with his fist up, and his fist punctured through her vaginal wall and into her rectum.) It’s not true that birth will stretch your vagina out of whack because the tightness is controlled by the kegel muscle, not the skin. You can work the muscle back into shape after you’ve had a baby, and someone who’s never had a vaginal birth can let the muscle go and have a loose vagina anyway. Some women may have a good reason to believe that they will suffer damaging tearing due to family history. Another coworker’s wife had a stillbirth with her first child that was never explained, and out of fear she had elective c-sections at 38 weeks for her subsequent births. I am all for natural birth but I think if that had happened to me I would make the same choice, whether the fear is realistic or not.

  2. Véronique Houde

    June 15, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Totally agree with you on that one. No matter what, something’s gonna hurt.

  3. Edify

    June 15, 2013 at 10:20 am

    With you on C-Section recovery. 10 days in and I’m wondering if I’ll ever be able to laugh or get out of bed again without pain. It’s even harder on round two because your 1st child wants you to be back to normal and active. All advice to rest is out the window.

    • Maria Guido

      June 15, 2013 at 10:46 am

      I know! The feeling that I am about to sneeze invokes the horror of a thousand nightmares!

    • Edify

      June 15, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      Having your toddler run head first into your pelvis for a cuddle is a pretty terrifying event too!

  4. Madame Ovaries

    June 15, 2013 at 10:48 am

    I think life in general is easier if you accept that pain happens. If you start focusing on how to manage pain rather than how to stop it altogether, you at least find yourself less daunted by things that do hurt, like childbirth.

    I had a vaginal delivery, no epidural. I really believe that the pain I experienced in labor was a trade off for being able to get out of bed right after, not having to be catheterized, etc, and I would make the same choice again. I can appreciate the opposite decision in a vaginal birth, too: taking the epidural with the understanding that you’re at a higher risk for tearing and c-sections (which are not a cake walk as Maria writes). There is no magic bullet; pregnancy, labor, childbirth, and the post partem period hurt!

  5. Kale

    June 15, 2013 at 10:59 am

    my vaginal birth was EASY! only 15 minutes of pushing .. and 2 hours of labor. The recovery was hard. I have a prolapse meaning either my uterus or my organs have slipped out of place.. but they can fix it. Also! Now they have numbing spray for down there for while you recover and walmart sells it.

  6. LiteBrite

    June 15, 2013 at 11:53 am

    I recovered fairly easily from my c-section, but I tend to recover easily in general, so I may be an exception. The day after, I was up walking around and within a week I was running errands, etc.

    But there is no real guarantee with any childbirth process. Kim could have a very easy recovery from a c-section or a vaginal birth. She may have the opposite. You never really know how your body is going to react until you actually do it.

    • Maria Guido

      June 15, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      I’m about 2 weeks out and have been up since day two and running errands for the past week as well – but everything still feels a little out-of-place and I am really not comfortable. It was way worse with the last c-section though, so you are right – you never really know how your body is going to react.

    • Justme

      June 15, 2013 at 2:18 pm

      I was the same way – super easy recovery from a c-section. I think it’s all a crapshoot.

  7. koolchicken

    June 15, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I’m laying in bed right now and I still feel like I did days out from surgery, only it’s been seven months and one day. If she’s afraid of pain it’s going to be a nightmare for her if things don’t go well. My husband and I are now looking into second opinions, drugs, and exploratory surgery. Not very glamorous at all.

    • Maria Guido

      June 15, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      Oh god, really? That is awful. I’m sorry 🙁

    • koolchicken

      June 15, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      Yup, it’s true. Sadly people have been led to believe c sections are no big deal. I had no choice, at 36 weeks a heart problem was discovered in my son. If I hadn’t had a prenatal appointment that day he would have been stillborn. So I get a little nuts when I hear women say they want one for no good reason. They don’t always go well. I scream in pain whenever my son accidentally bumps my stomach. Imagine having it hurt to hold your kid. Patients shouldn’t be allowed to choose if they want one or not, just for sport.

    • Raeronola

      June 16, 2013 at 1:08 am

      I think it’s worth it to note that your experience is NOT the norm, just like women who birth vaginally and experience horrific 4th degree tears that leave them on the verge of incontinent and requiring surgery to repair the damage. It’s not really up to you to decide whether or not someone’s reason for having whatever birth they choose is “no good.”

    • koolchicken

      June 16, 2013 at 6:27 am

      Excuse me but you’ve taken what I said out of context and you know it, way to try and get cute. I never called someone else’s birth plan “no good” I said “for no good reason”- HUGE difference! The reality is women are being led to believe that a c section is no more hazardous than a dental filling, this is doing a disservice to women. C sections are major abdominal surgery and ALL surgery carries risk. It is for that reason they should not be preformed because someone thinks they’re less work, easier, or worse- convenient. Also, I shouldn’t be discounted just because I’m a “rare” case. I think with the rising c section rates I’m about to get a lot of friends.

    • raeronola

      June 16, 2013 at 11:21 am

      Calm down, lady. You said yourself you wouldn’t have a child today if it hadn’t been for your c-section. And that dental filling comment is laughable. Please provide a source, or at least refer me to a doctor I can call who will tell me that a c-section is no more dangerous than dental work.

      Also, I’m not being cute, and I didn’t say you called people’s birth plan no good, I said it wasn’t your job to decide what reasons were good or not good for having a c-section.

      Everything’s gonna be okay.

    • koolchicken

      June 17, 2013 at 1:24 am

      The fact that my kid wouldn’t be here without c sections shouldn’t be relevant. When people act like I have no right to be upset by my kids mode of birth it reduces me (and women like me) to the level of wrapping paper.

      The reality is I’m sure if you surveyed the OB department of any hospital you’d probably find at least one doctor who would tell you they aren’t more dangerous than a dental filling. Lets try to remember c section rates jump at dinner and bedtime, thats not the behavior of people who are treating c sections they way they should be- as an emergency delivery method.

      It’s not my job to say how others should give birth. But it shouldn’t be up to any layperson. Major surgery should be treated as major surgery. But in this age of boob jobs and botox a c section is a game.

      I’ll never wear pants again, I never go on a roller coaster again, and there’s so much more. I look at my friend when her son climbs all over her and think of how that would have me in tears. I live in fear of the day my son does that to me. As it is he doesn’t get to sit on my lap much these days, he’s too active now and he hurts me on accident. All women who want an elective c section because they’re “scared” or “don’t want surprises” should have to spend a day with me and any other woman who’s had a major complication. I bet fewer women would be willing to roll the dice if they knew what their future could look like.

  8. Kat

    June 15, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Ha, yeah I remember the oh-shit-well-if-I-just-have-a-c-section-it-won’t-hurt moment in my first pregnancy. I’ve never had a c-section but I realize now, after three kids, that was just crazeh. I think it’s a reeeaall anomaly when labor and delivery don’t hurt. I also believe that when first-time moms think that squeezing the eight (nine, 10?) pound baby out through their vaginas is the scary part, they’re making a terrible, terrible mistake. Psh, I’d push the baby out five times if it meant no labor pain!

  9. The Great Queen Spider

    June 15, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Of course its going to hurt, its surgery! Geez, the ignorance…

  10. Pingback: Kim Kardashian Gives Birth To Baby Girl

  11. Karla

    June 15, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Try Hypnobirthing, replacing fear with positive imagery and a gentle, calming environment! Kate Middleton isn’t ‘too posh to push’, she is also rumored to be using hypnobirthing techniques for a peaceful and maybe even pain-free birth which is what many who use it experience.

  12. Chelsey

    June 15, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Oh yeah, by far natural deliveries are better. I have had for sections and two the other way. Sections are the pits. Thereis nothing like being able to walk right after you give birth.

  13. Justme

    June 15, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Some women have an intense fear of vaginal childbirth and therefore opt for a c-section. It doesn’t make them any less of a mother once the child is born.

    I’ve had friends with easy recoveries from both c-sections and vaginal deliveries…the same goes for difficult recoveries. I don’t think there is a definitive “this is easier or better than that” because with every woman comes an entirely new and different pregnancy, birth story and adjustment to motherhood.

    So she wants (and did have) a c-section. Who cares?

    • Zoe

      June 16, 2013 at 10:59 pm

      I have an extreme fear of vaginal delivery. The thought of pushing a baby out makes me feel nauseated, sometimes to the point where I feel like I’m going to pass out, and I’m not even pregnant yet. If a c-section is available, I will definitely take it. I would much rather have my belly cut open than my vagina ripped open, and screw anyone who tries to tell me I’m being stupid. I have a friend who is the complete opposite – terrified of caesarians, reckoned she wouldn’t have one even if the baby was in danger. She recently delivered the normal way and everything was fine, fortunately. She didn’t even really tear. She is (strangely enough) the only one who understands my fear.

      I don’t mind pain. I can handle it just fine. It’s the idea of a mutilated vagina, stitches and a torn/sliced perineum that gets me. I feel sick just writing about it. I do believe that a healthy baby (and a mother in more-or-less one piece who is capable of providing care!) is the only outcome that really matters, but it doesn’t stop me from being afraid.

    • Joyce

      June 16, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      If you are laboring in a comfortable position (on your knees, squatting) it’s not that bad. Plus, everything goes back to place within two to ten weeks (tears, stitches, etc). Please, don’t be scared. You can also recover its tightness by doing kegels; they are wonderful.

    • C.J.

      June 16, 2013 at 11:22 pm

      I was like your friend. I was terrified of having to have a c-section. My 1st was 10 lbs 9 oz. I had back labour, haemorrhaged and I couldn’t sit comfortably for a month. Even after that delivery that was very difficult I was still more scared of a c-section than a vaginal birth. Something about being cut open while awake just freaks me out. Everything down there went back where it was supposed to be so I figured if I did it once I could do it again. There were people who thought I was crazy for not having a c-section with my 2nd because of the difficulties I had with my 1st. Everyone has their own fears even if other people don’t understand them.

    • Justme

      June 17, 2013 at 9:11 am

      I had a fear of going into labor….I teach middle school and I had nightmares about my water breaking at school and not having lesson plans ready for a sub. Seriously. I’m a Type A planner and I was having full on panic attacks about the whole unknown aspect of giving birth, so I just scheduled an induction and immediately felt better.

  14. allie

    June 15, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    I am currently pregnant with my 4th baby and can’t even figure out how you get a Dr to do an elective c-section. I know a lot of woman who have had children and don’t know a single one who had a section electively or was even offered the option. I completely understand needing a c section, like if baby is in distress or mom is or for other medically needed reasons but don’t understand why they are even offered as an elective option. I know several woman who medically needed a c section and don’t know a single one of them who was happy with the recovery.

    • Liz

      June 16, 2013 at 1:10 am

      You say, “Doctor, I am concerned about how the strain of labor and delivery may affect my extremely bad back on which I have had previous surgeries. Can we schedule an elective c-section?” That’s how.

  15. allisonjayne

    June 17, 2013 at 9:59 am

    I don’t think elective C-sections should be banned, but a woman considering one really needs to get all the information about what she’s considering, and quite frankly I don’t trust OBs to give all the information. C-sections are more convenient for OBs.

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