In India, nearly 70 per cent births in private sector are Ceasareans.In Delhi, Gujarat, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, one-third opt for it.Kerala and Goa top the state charts in India, at nearly 60 per cent C-section births.Eighty per cent of C-sections take place by 5 p.m., peaking before weekends.
Source: British Med Jl, Lancet, WHO, Natl Family Health Survey of India
It is a common belief that a C-section is a life saving,complication reducing and safety enhancing procedure. Safe Motherhood and safe Birth are such high and noble goals that one can not find fault with them.But in case of C-sections it increasingly seems that its a Devil's Deal most of us can do well without.The NFHS - III notes the alarming trend of rising C-sections in private and public settings , especially in urban areas.
A natural Birth on the other hand , comes with so many life -long advantages for both the mother and the child that not pro -actively choosing it as a first resort method is one Health mistake you can never undo. No wonder that from being too posh to push painless births that the super rich and famous opted for earlier,today celebrities like Aishwarya Rai Bacchan at age 38 opt for a natural Birth.
Ten years back we only knew this much about dangers of unnecessary C-sections :
Caesareans not as safe as vaginal birth, contrary to popular belief. It's a major abdominal surgery and carries inherent risks, including rare cases of infection, excessive bleeding, reactions to medications, urinary tract infections and injury to the baby.
A woman may take longer to recover psychologically and establish breast-feeding, too, after undergoing a C-section. Psychological fallout: a) a sense of failure; b) increased post-partum blues due to dependency; c) delayed bonding with the child.
The Baby too faced these risks :
Prematurity - especially in elective C-sectionsRespiratory distress syndromeEffect of anaesthesiaSurgeon's nick with the knifeDelayed bonding with the mother
C-section deliveries have been for a long time known to be co-related with greater risk of childhood and early adulthood obesity .And with weakened immune systems in children.But the mechanism behind it was not understood .A number of studies now establish that naturally delivered infants have exposure to vaginal and intestinal flora from the birth canal that determine the lifelong immune response as well as healthy gut function.To quote :
"The link between mode of delivery and subsequent childhood pathology is an important one. This becomes even more important as maternal desire for primary cesarean delivery is on the rise and rates of vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) are declining in this country. This new information about colonization differences with differing modes of delivery seems to be taking the hygiene hypothesis to an entirely new level."
So if you as a woman are seeking an elective cesarean or are being persuaded to do so : choosing a natural delivery has many life-long benefits for the baby : and the mother also recovers faster.
Organisations like Birth India and Healthy-Mother Birth Center are spearheading a movement of reclaiming natural birthing as a norm not an exception.