Taking Back Birth
Women who have caesarean sections for the births of their babies are more likely to end up with future ectopic pregnancies and stillbirths, issues around infertility, and increased newborn breathing difficulty.
These major side-effects don’t seem to stop the growing number of BC women handing over the most important physical moment in their lives to their obstetricians who blind following a medical program rather than standing up for normal birth.
Driven by fear, women have bought into the “as long as the baby is healthy” mantra espoused by doctors too impatient to allow births to unfold as they should.
The World Health Organization thinks that 10-15% maximum of all births warrant a caesaren section. In Vancouver, the rate is 27% - almost one in the three births is conducted as surgery, rather than a loving, natural experience. In some BC communities, the rate is over 40%.
Dr. Jan Christilaw from BC Women’s Hospital spoke earlier this year at a conference aiming to get to the bottom of this sad phenomenon. She feels that women are scared of birth and because of this fear, they are more likely agree to drugs to speed up labour and numb the pain.
Known as a “cascade of interventions”, this scenario often ends up in a c-section for the mother, giving her permanent physical and psychological damage.
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard women announce that they refuse to labour without an epidural not knowing the negative outcomes that could flow from this choice.
Doctors care more about getting the birth done quickly than supporting a woman emotionally through the most amazing experience in her life. If they could knock us out completely, as they did during the 1950s, it would make their jobs much easier.
Due to this approach, less than 45% of women believe birth is a natural process that should be left alone. The path to normal birth isn’t like following a road map, it unfolds like a story, with unexpected plot twists.
Unfortunately, many doctors want a predicable straight line and aren’t trained nor have the patience to just let it happen, no matter how long it takes.
According to Dr. Christilaw, the main factor that predicts c-section rates is the obstetrician. Some doctors have rates as low as 8% and others are way above even our high provincial average.
Pregnant mothers need to shop around for an obstetrician with a low c-section rate. Or better yet, look into midwifery care which, using standards supportive of womens’ needs and a different understanding of birth, reduces much of the fear and pain that can lead to unnecessary caesarean sections.
This week Canadian midwives are meeting in Ottawa for their annual conference. More information about the midwifery option in Canada can be found at: www.canadianmidwives.org
Published today in 24 Hours Daily