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Caesarean delivery, not all that safe


Piyali Sur,CNN-IBN
Aug 28, 2008 at 01:17pm IST

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New Delhi: India is one of the few countries where more than 50 per cent of women opt for caesarean deliveries as opposed to normal child birth.

But very few realise the benefits of going with nature or the consequences of going against it.

Many women request doctors for a caesarean section (C-Section) delivery for non-medical reasons like fear of pain, seeking auspicious or desired dates and timing of delivery or other personal reasons.

Thirty-year-old Anjana (name changed) is five months pregnant. At just 22 weeks, she already knows she will give birth between 12:00 -12:30 pm on December 16.

“I want a caesarean for auspicious reasons, I want the baby to be born at a particular time and date. In fact my doctor has also suggested a C-Section,” says Anjana.

Anjana believes that her decision to go against nature and opt for a selective caesarean delivery as opposed to a normal delivery has no ill-effects or risks.

Arun and Reema (both names changed) also timed the birth of their child to the last second, which coincided with Amitabh Bachchan's birthday. They believe that a good mahurat for the birth will assure their son a good destiny.

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report states that there is growing evidence that many women choose delivery by caesarean section for personal reasons.

It also points out that this happens particularly in profit-motivated institutional settings that may encourage such interventions.

There are of course medical reasons why women have to opt for or allow doctors to do the C-section.

The reasons could be:

  • Multiple pregnancy
  • Placenta praevia - a problematic placental condition dangerous for the baby.
  • Breech presentation
  • Hypertension induced due to the Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Bleeding in pregnancy
  • Baby not thriving
  • Previous caesarean delivery
  • Some other medical complications foreseen by the doctor

What the women fail to see is that they are buying health trouble that was otherwise avoidable.

The risks could be

  • Decreased fertility in the future.
  • Increased chances of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy.
  • Respiratory problems for the baby.
  • May affect the initial mother-child bonding.

There are also other problems that go hand in hand with a C-Section, which is a surgery after all. There could be trouble in wound healing, anaesthesia-related issues and general abdominal muscle-tone loss that the woman has to bear.

The bottom line is that caesareans should be opted over normal vaginal delivery techniques only when there is otherwise a health or life risk to the child or mother.

However, the debate whether child birth should be natural or stage managed continues.

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