Stats & Health: Caesarean Birth Option More Popular

The number of women in Scotland choosing a 'Caesarean Section' instead of childbirth has jumped by nearly 50 per cent in a decade, new figures revealed 2005-02-03. The popularity of the operation, a common choice among 'celebrity' mothers such as Ms.Victoria Beckham, Ms.Kate Winslet and Ms.Zo� Ball means that 1:12 women now chooses the method over childbirth.
The figure soars to 1:4 births when emergency 'Caesarean Section' operations are factored into the statistics released 2005-02-03 by the NHS in Scotland.
An extraordinary coalition -- from childbirth advocates -- right through to 'The Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists' agree that the 'Caesarean Section' rate is too high and the rate of increase is alarmingly steep -- another couple of decades and most births could be by 'Caesarean Section'. Ms.Beverly Beech, from 'The Association of Improvement in Maternity Services' (AIMS), said:
'The "Caesarean" rate in Scotland is a national disgrace'.
However, the trend for women to request a 'Caesarean Section' before the date their baby is due is a UK-wide phenomenon. It is also mirrored in the USA, as well as other, less affluent countries including Brazil and Puerto Rico.
Some experts in obstetrics and gynaecology are alarmed that many women are opting for the operation in the belief that it will be less painful than 'natural childbirth', and the belief that it may even help them regain their 'figure' after the birth.
Press photographs of 'celebrities' emerging from hospital with their 'pre-pregnancy figures' seemingly unchanged appear to have had more influence on pregnant women than realised before. According to an attitudes survey, also published 2005-02-03, 'poor body image' following childbirth is cited by more than 80 per cent of new mothers as the factor which took the joy out of having a baby.
The desire to 'snap back into shape' is so strong among some women in the USA, that some now request a 'Caesarean Section' 4 or even 6 weeks before their 'due date'; they would rather have 'premature', underweight babies than risk 'stretchmarks' or sagging breasts -- a new level of selfishness that experts warn puts the health of their infants at serious risk.
'The NHS National Services Scotland' statistics published 2005-02-03 show 7.8 per cent of women elected to give birth by 'Caesarean Section' between 2000 & 2002, compared to 5.4 per cent between 1990 & 1992.
In the same period the number of emergency 'Caesarean Sections' rose to 14 per cent from 9.2 per cent.
The figures also show that the number of women of child-bearing age (15 to 44) has fallen by 3.8 per cent between 1990 & 2002.
The nation's fertility rate has also fallen marginally in the last decade, with significant variations among NHS board areas.
The report found the general fertility rate has fallen from 58 live births/1_000 women aged 15 to 44 (1990 to 1992) to 48 live births/ 1_000 (2000 to 2002).
Mr.Patrick Chien, a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology at 'Ninewells Hospital' in Dundee, said 2005-02-03 that there were four main factors which had increased the 'Caesarean Section' rate in Scotland over the last decade. He said it was undeniable that the figures had risen because more women than ever before were exercising their right to choose a 'Caesarean Section' long before the date they are due to give birth, even when there is no specific medical reason for them to undergo the operation.
'If someone comes to us with that request, we would first explain to them that the national guidelines do not support it, and then "spell out" to them that there are risks involved in having a "Caesarean Section". 'While there are still consultants who will say "no", the trend among consultants is moving towards agreeing to a woman's informed consent', said Mr.Chien.
The second (and more common) reason for the increase in 'Caesarean Sections' is the growing number of times the operation is done as an emergency. A decision to undertake an emergency 'Caesarean Section' is taken when either the baby is in distress or the mother's labour is too slow in its progress. It appears that evermore women are ready to 'give up' on 'natural labour' if it has gone on for longer than they were expecting -- although many report feeling deeply unhappy that their child was born by 'Caesarean Section' despite their attempts to give birth. The third reason is that once a woman has had a 'Caesarean Section' she is 50 per cent more likely to have her subsequent children by the same method, according to Mr.Chien. He explained:
'Once you have had a "Caesarean Section" you have a surgical scar on the uterus and that means you are unable to push as hard as someone with an intact uterus during "natural labour". 'Also these patients are more likely to opt sooner for a section if they find "natural labour" is not progressing quickly'.
The fourth reason for the increase is that hospitals will no longer deliver babies in the 'breech position' by any means other than 'Caesarean Section'. Ms.Shona Robison, The Scottish National Party's health spokesman, said yesterday 2005-02-03:
'This is something that has to be looked at, and it is a worrying trend. While there are some good clinical reasons for people opting for a "Caesarean", this dramatic increase shows many of these decisions are not being made on clinical grounds. 'What we need is to look at why that is and try to have some sort of public health campaign to promote "non-Caesarean" births, because they have been the subject of a lot of "misconceptions" and fear'.
'The Scottish Executive' said it was keen to reduce the number of 'Caesarean Sections'; three expert reports have found that women should be encouraged to attempt a childbirth. A spokesman said:
'[These reports] highlight the need for midwife-led care and the promotion of normality in childbirth, with a view to a reduction in interventions. 'NHS boards across Scotland are expected to adopt the principles and recommendations in all three of these reports'.
Ms.Deborah Ryan gave birth to her son Dechlan by 'Caesarean Section' seven weeks ago but still feels tender and swollen along her 100_mm long scar. The 33-year-old mformer advertising exective from Edinburgh only underwent the procedure after becoming exhausted following five days attempting to have a childbirth. She admitted it was a traumatic experience. Ms.Ryan suffered complications due to serious injuries she received during a car accident two years ago.
'These mothers who choose to have "Caesarean Sections" because they feel they are "too posh to push" are "shocking" and should be "ashamed of themselves"; 'Women have had the ability to have a "natural birth" since "Adam & Eve" -- and it is only because I am "disabled" that I finally had to relent and have a "section". 'I made sure they tried everything on me first though -- including being pumped four times with "hormones" -- having several "internals", massage, "aroma therapy" -- and my waters broken at the hospital, but still I was unable to be "induced" -- and my baby was in distress. 'Having a "section" is absolutely horrendous because you usually only have an "epidural", which means you can feel them pulling and moving organs about and hear them cutting through fat and muscle. It is a horrible sensation and lasts for about 30 minutes. 'I kept telling my husband to keep talking to me throughout the whole operation to stop me thinking about what was going on.
'Then you are unable to hold your baby for another 30 minutes while they sew you up. 'I also wouldn't recommend having a "section" because the recovery period takes much longer than a "natural birth".
'For weeks I was unable to drive, bend, or lift anything.
'Breast feeding was also very difficult because I couldn't lay him on my stomach. Nobody should take the decision to have a "section" lightly'.
'Push for action as Caesarean rate soars', Alison Hardie, The Scotsman, 2005-02-04


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Point #1 why report that a celebrity had a section? Is that not like just TOO much information? And if it is giving the fashionfollowers the wrong idea, then maybe the media should take responsibility?
Point#2 I have heard that it is all about hospitals, so if the hospital is really busy or really really poor or something, then they just FORCE people into getting sections by making them sign a form, and they are in no fit state to argue when they are in labor.

2/07/2005 01:37:00 am  

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