'For kids’ bright future, city women give thumbs up to caesarean' read the expreesindia.com headline by Sameer Kumar Sharma earlier this week. The article reports that women in Ludhiana, "with the knowledge of medical science making caesarean deliveries much safer, more urbane women are opting for caesarean on request even though they could have a normal delivery."
Sharma writes: "For the fear of labour pains, many ‘educated’ women are thronging hospitals to deliver babies without having to go through 10 to 12 hours of labour pain. The rough estimates suggest a sizeable chunk of expecting mothers - as much as 20 per cent - want to go in for caesarean delivery rather than normal vaginal delivery."
Gynaecologists there say that in the last 5 years, "there has been a major shift in the way women respond to childbirth. “Today more women ask on request to have a caesarean rather than waiting for the normal delivery,” says Dr Promila Jindal, professor and unit head, department of gyaenocology, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital."
Requests have doubled in the last few years
"Dr Mini Ahuja, consultant gyneacologist at Iqbal Nursing Home, says about 30 per cent of the pregnant women approaching them talk about the possibility of caesarean even though there are no complications involved. “Such queries and requests have almost doubled in the last couple of years,” she adds."
But Dr Vaneet Kaur, senior consultant and head of the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at SPS Apollo Hospitals, says: “We counsel such women who are afraid of labour pains and condition them to prepare for normal deliveries. Moreover, the normal delivery can also be made a painless experience through epidural analgesia and all they need is a little bit of more knowledge than they already have. Normal deliveries are a natural way of delivery and one should always prefer that.”
Naturally, I don't agree with the idea that all women should share the same delivery preference, but I decided to blog about this article largely because it illustrates that women choosing cesarean delivery is a reality. The issue is not going to go away by pretending it isn't happening and in my opinion, it is unethical to brush aside women's concerns over the unpredictability of vaginal delivery or to dismiss their informed decision to choose cesarean surgery instead.