Saturday, December 15, 2007

C-ing is believing

Another post on the c-section debate I'm afraid. Having made the choice, a number of times, and now had it largely taken out of my hands, I find myself taking on the role of interested observer in the whole issue. On Thursday and Friday this week I did a lot of observing.

On Thursday night I found myself sitting in a pub with T, a lovely British guy I work with, drinking hot chocolate (me) and lager (him). He has an older daughter and, in amongst other topics of conversation such as the dire state of the England football team, we got chatting about the obvious Bump with us at the table. He was telling me about a girl he works with who, in month 7, was given all sorts of reasons by her obs about why she couldn't have a natural birth (baby is too big, hips too small blah blah). Being a savvy lass, she questioned all of them, and in the end her obs simply said that unless she was willing to have a c-section he would no longer treat her and she should find another doctor! A similar thing happened to another friend, P. She ended up with my obs and having a natural, and pretty trouble free, birth.

It seems that in HK almost every obs will ask you to have a c-section. I can't help feeling this is largely driven by money (they make more money on a c-section) and convenience for the doctor. Whatever happened to the right to choose?

What is annoying me even more is that women do seem to be listening to their doctors and most of the people I know who are pregnant are opting for a c-section without necessarily doing anything more than listening to a few friends and their doctor - who seems to be biased. For various reasons I ended up on Friday talking to 4 other pregnant women at different points about this, and all were going to opt for a c-section. I have no problem with their decision, but when I asked them why only one was doing it for medical reasons (the birth of her first child had been so traumatic that she wanted more control this time), the others variously said it would be more convenient, their doctor had recommended it (although for no medical reason), or because they thought natural childbirth would be harder. One even said she hated the idea of being cut or stitched "down below", whereas major abdominal surgery seemed perfectly acceptable to her.

Not one seemed to have actually looked into what is physically involved in the surgery and was taking the advice of their doctor. The fact that it is really rather tough and for every one woman who "heals" quickly and is running marathons within a week, there are many more who have problems with bleeding, infections and pain seemed not to be known to them. It makes it a lot harder to feed the baby too (baby + scar = pain).

As mentioned before, there is no pleasant way of getting Bump out, but I can't help feeling that the medical profession are doing us women all a disservice by not giving us the information and advice to make our own choices and respecting the choices we make - whatever they may be.

Rant over.


LottieP said...

Interesting article about it here:,,535349,00.html

LottieP said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mummy said...

Mum sends me emails rather than post comments, so I am doing this on her behalf.

"My day it was - you can only have an epidural if there is a medical reason - childbirth is hard work!! There then followed a period of 'doing what mother wants' (music, water births, arm chairs etc) until someone mentioned the baby and what might be best for the baby rather than the mother. I remember everyone being very jealous of me with a medical epidural while they all managed with gas and air and morphine. Doctors, despite being very scientific etc, are really just fascinated by fashion!"

Mummy said...

Interesting article and one I will send to a couple of friends.

I had no idea that the risk of death to the mother is around five times higher with a c-section than a natural birth. In almost no other procedure would you opt for those odds. That has to be the biggest hidden secret of the medical profession.