Monday, July 16, 2012

Is Turkey law playing chicken with doctors?

I've been researching the cesarean situation in Turkey for some time now, and this latest news about the government introducing legislation in order to reduce its countries high rates has really captured the attention of the media. This is the comment I've just posted on this Guardian article:

1. One other likely factor that is driving Turkey's comparably high cesarean rates is the country's efforts to continue improvements in its maternal and neonatal mortality rates (i.e. its efforts to save the lives of mothers and babies).

2. The article states that the "optimal caesarean rate given by the World Health Organisation is 15% to 18%" but in fact the WHO updated its statement on cesarean thresholds in 2009, admitting that the optimum rate is unknown.

3. A causal link between cesarean birth and babies being "more prone to obesity" has not been confirmed.

4. Turkish doctors are not alone in "presenting C-section delivery as a normal alternative to natural birth", and while it is imperative that Turkish women who would prefer a natural birth are supported in this birth choice, women who prefer a cesarean birth (at 39+ gestational weeks and planning a small family) should continue to be supported in their choice too.

5. It is my understanding that tokophobia (fear of birth) is to remain a 'medical indication' under Turkish law, which is a good thing, and certainly in line with last year's NICE recommendations here. It will be interesting to see whether rates of tokophobia in Turkey begin to increase at all now...

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