We know that more than 18.5 million cesarean sections are performed yearly worldwide. But do you know just how long mamas around the world have been undergoing this procedure? Or what these operations used to entail? Let's chat about it!
For starters, C-sections have been performed since ancient times. You heard that right—these have been ongoing for centuries! There are many references to C-sections, or cesarean births, in ancient cultures, from Egypt to Rome to China. It is unclear the exact details of these deliveries since they happened so long ago, but you can find hieroglyphics and woodcarvings depicting these surgeries in museums worldwide.
Some ancient societies even had laws about cesarean deliveries. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, "Roman law under Caesar decreed that all women who were so fated by childbirth must be cut open; hence, cesarean." For Romans, it was only used in dire situations when the mother's life was a risk. Other societies, such as those in Sub-Saharan Africa and India, claim to have performed successful operations well before Western medicine. Fast forward to the 1500s, and we now have the first written record of a cesarean section from Switzerland. Both the mother and baby survived.
But when did the modern, Western C-sections come into play?
By the late 1800s, anesthetics were starting to be administered during surgeries, including C-sections (for the lucky 😉). In the mid-1900s, women were having more babies in the hospital rather than at home. So, combine these two occurrences, and you can start to see how C-sections became much more common.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine also mentions that "In 1970, the cesarean section rate was about 5%; by 1988, it had peaked at 24.7%." In more recent times, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed the C-section rate as %31.7 of all births in the U.S. in 2018.
Many mothers are still a little nervous when they hear the phrase "C-section." Today, C-sections are considered safe, but many mothers feel a lack of attention is given to post-C-section recovery. We may have come a long way regarding medicine and technology, but we can always do better when it comes to some post-delivery TLC. Fortunately, there are numerous resources and products dedicated to helping C-section mothers. You can check out our full line of products here, https://bellybandit.com/collections/c-section-recovery.
For more information on the history of C-sections, visit here https://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/cesarean/index.html.