Natural Childbirth is Anti-Choice

Activists are set to issue a “stern warning” today. What’s a stern warning? I don’t know. Maybe a wag of the finger and a smirk.

It seems the UK government is “pandering to the natural birth lobby and so denying women the freedom to have elective Cesareans and pain relief.”

Yes, you read right. Women are feeling pressured into not having c-sections. This is according to The Independent newspaper.

Who is pushing the C-is-for-C-Section agenda? It’s the Birth Trauma Association (BTA) and some other curiously unnamed organizations. The BTA’s interest is to address Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that afflicts mothers who have really bad birth experiences.

The BTA is also “dismayed” by a recent proposal to withhold epidurals from women [PDF] when there isn’t a medical need.

Statistics cited in the article place the UK c-section rate 30 years ago at 9 percent while today it is 25 percent. Wikipedia states the rate was 20 percent in 2004. If all figures are accurate, c-sections continue to gain in popularity.

For comparison, Wikipedia states the US c-section rate was 30.2 percent in 2005. The World Health Organization recommends a rate no higher than 15 percent.

I personally don’t have a problem with elective c-sections, but only if the mother and her support team understand the implications of the surgery and the recovery process.

Give ‘em a 10 question rhetorical quiz where every question begins with the phrase, “Do you realize…”

Read it and weep: Natural childbirth movement ‘denies women choice’ [The Independent]


6 Responses to “Natural Childbirth is Anti-Choice”

  1. liberrian says:

    Assuming that someone who elects a c-section has to pay for it herself, I have no problem with it.
    But of course that raises the issue of whether we (as people in the same health care pool) should have to pay for someone’s epidural when she may not need it, medically. Especially since epidural use often leads to other interventions. Should this stuff be treated as “elective” procedures that aren’t covered by insurance? I don’t know–I’m sure that if I felt I needed one when I gave birth, I wouldn’t think so. Since I didn’t need one (my fast labor meant no time for one anyway), I don’t know what to think. If insurance (gov’t sponsored as in the UK or private as in the US) is only supposed to cover what is medically necessary, does epidural anesthesia fall under that heading? And of course, do we really want our insurance companies/organizations to be the ones making that call?

    November 24th, 2008 at 7:11 am

  2. Christy says:

    Wow. I can completely understand the idea of not wanting to have to pay for elective C-Sections (on the part of the Ins Co), but to deny an epidural?

    If that’s not cruel and unusual treatment, I don’t know what is!

    In all seriousness though, I don’t think I would willingly get pregnant knowing that I would not be allowed sufficient pain relief. I’m a total pain wuss.

    November 24th, 2008 at 10:49 am

  3. smurfett says:

    I think the problem is with the “but only if the mother and her support team understand the implications of the surgery and the recovery process” part.

    When you ask doctors to tell you the implications, they don’t tell you EVERYTHING. Things like how you could have your innards stuck together after the c-section as your insides heal, how your chances of a uterine rupture goes up the next time, how it can take a long time to heal, etc etc. Doctors talk about what can happen during surgery, but they don’t talk about what happens after.

    But, scarying people into not having c-sections isn’t the way to go either. Noone likes to be forced to do something.

    November 24th, 2008 at 12:52 pm

  4. Jen says:

    For as crunchy-granola as I am in most ways, I am absolutely an advocate of having an epidural if you need it and I also scheduled my c-section with my second born. What constitutes elective? I went through 18 hours of labor ending with a c-section for a failure to progress and a decelerating fetal heart rate. I went into that birth with every intention of having a vaginal delivery. However, it didn’t happen. After lengthy discussions with my doctor when I got pregnant with my second, she suggested that my body was not built for being able to birth children in that way. This would make sense in that my mother had 4 c-sections after trying to go naturally the first two times and failing.

    With the second c-section, I was informed to the point of being over informed. I was told about the surgery, the aftermath, and the resulting potential for complications in the future. I asked questions. I knew the risks. And chose to anyway.

    The idea that if I were living in the UK and they would tell me that I couldn’t have a C-section without paying for it or enduring countless hours of labor is slightly sickening.

    Now, that being said, those people who are electing to have c-sections for no other reason than not wanting to have their lady bits stretched out? bullocks to them. That’s ridiculous and they darn well need to pay for them.

    I’m just concerned with the idea that some women are going to have to deal with unnecessary trauma or have to jump through countless hoops in order to have the c-section that they would most likely need anyway.

    November 25th, 2008 at 7:42 am

  5. KPbizz says:

    The pain relief part “dismays” me more than the elective c-section part. After three births that spanned the whole spectrum from crunchy granola drug-free to epiduralized induction for preeclampsia, I feel overqualified to say that pain relief in labor should be considered a “medical necessity” based on nothing more than the woman’s desire for it. Anesthesia for dental work isn’t medically “necessary,” but I don’t know many people who would get their teeth drilled without it.

    This also smacks of gross sexism. No one would dare suggest withholding anesthesia for some male-only medical event – say, for vasectomies. (Let the tough guys bite a leather strap!)

    November 27th, 2008 at 8:43 am

  6. mummyme says:

    You are walking on thin ice when you talk about ‘elective’ c sections. Just because someone doesn’t have a physical medical need for one doesn’t mean they should be denied it. After 4 days in labour my planned natural home water birth turned into an ‘everything but the c sec’ birth, including an epidural and a double blood transfusion. I won’t plan any more kids – I am far too scared of the birthing process. But if I fell pregnant by accident I’d beg, borrow and steal for a C sec and if I had to pay for it myself so be it. There is no physical reason why my body can’t give birth, but mentally – I just can’t even begin to contemplate the horror.

    February 9th, 2009 at 6:31 am

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