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Do you need that C-Section?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Did you know that April is Caesarean Awareness Month worldwide?
This awareness campaign supports a reduction in the number of caesareans in mothers who do not really need or who will not benefit from this procedure when compared to a vaginal birth. Caesarean Awareness Month also promotes Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC) and support for recovery from a caesarean.

What is a caesarean?
A caesarean section (C-Section) is a surgical operation in which a baby is delivered through a cut in the front wall of the abdomen and womb. This procedure is often used when a vaginal birth carries a higher risk of complications.

When is it performed?
A C-section may be performed when:

  • A baby is in a feet first position (breech position).
  • The mother has gone into premature labour.
  • The labour does not progress in a normal manner.
  • There is a viral infection (such as hepatitis C or HIV).
  • The mother has placenta praevia; a condition in which the placenta is low-lying and covers part of the entrance to the womb.

The Increasing Trend Towards C-Sections
In the US and in many other countries the proportion of C-Sections has risen steadily in recent years and this rise is not due to a rise in complications listed above.
In the US, the 2007 caesarean section rate was about 32%; for every thee births one was by caesarean section, compared to about 5%, or 1 in 20, during the mid 1960s.

In India, it has been observed that doctors are increasingly opting for C-Sections even when they are completely unnecessary; in fact, a doctor by the name of Dr B N Purandare had raised the issue more than three decades ago, and commented on what he called “weekend surgeries”, which allowed the doctors to take off on weekends to play golf since they didn’t have to worry about being suddenly called to deliver a baby through natural childbirth!

Globally, the reasons for this rise have been widely debated and may be due to many factors. These include a rise in multiple births, an increase in obesity in pregnant women, and a rise in the number of older women giving birth. Induced labour is also more commonplace and is associated with a rise in C-Sections. Couple these factors with a trend in healthcare providers and health insurance companies generally favouring C-Sections over vaginal birth, and we can begin to understand this higher rate.

Lack Of Awareness Of Complications
There is also a lack of awareness in mothers that C-Sections are a major operation which carry their own potential complications. This surgery can lead to increased risk of infection, blood clots, intense longer lasting pain, and repeat hospital visits as a result.

Health professionals do not always give expectant mothers an informed choice, favouring C-Sections over a vaginal birth. This may be due to a fear that there is greater risk of being sued if there are complications with vaginal birth when compared to C-Sections.

Caesarean Awareness Month aims to make expectant mothers aware that vaginal births can often be a choice they can take over caesarean section.

Source: What Health

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