Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why cesarean? Because celebrities have them!

I've often read the accusation that the reason some women are choosing a c-section birth is down to our increasingly celebrity copy-cat culture, and even though I still believe that for the majority of women, this is not the case, I do think that there may be a risk of this becoming a more frequent occurence - especially now that greater media attention is being given to the issues surrounding cesarean choice.

Just recently, I watched the January 11, 2012 episode of One Born Every Minute (Series 3, ep.13), and listened to a very happy stewardess talking about her birth plan. She said,

"I want to have a c-section because I think it'll be less painful.**
Probably because all the celebrities have them, and they seem to be stick thin after they've had them,.. and that's just why. I didn't fancy the natural birth to be honest. I'm a bit squeamish; I don't like blood or anything like that. Um, so that's why I chose a cesarean."

As someone who is a strong advocate for cesarean choice, I support informed cesarean choice, with a woman fully versed in the risks associated with surgery (and subsequent surgeries), and not someone who is solely 'following the latest trend', so when I first heard this, I was a little concerned to say the least.

However, watching it back again, I noticed that there was a programme editing point at ** above (just after "less painful"), and realised that a portion of that particular interview had been cut. Therefore this woman may well have talked about other reasons for wanting a cesarean (after all, she was a 38-year-old woman, pregnant for the first-time with twins, and likely to have been advised by doctors). We simply don't know.

But I do know that if (for example) some of my perceived benefits of planning a cesarean were taken out of context, they would sound like very weak justifactions for making this choice too, which is what an individualized consultation betwen a woman and a health professional is for.

Properly discussing the risks and benefits of surgery versus a trial of labor, whether that woman's perceived benefits have come straight from the pages of a celeb magazine or via an online medical journal. After all, some women are just as likely to be swayed by the natural birth choices of celebrities too...!

(...ironically, this episode involved a celebrity visit, causing great excitement amongst hospital staff.)

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