- Caesarean births in Karnataka have seen a rise from 15.5 per cent to 23.6 per cent in 10 years
- Although caesarean births are considered very safe, there are risks, including death
Did you know? The National Family Health Survey 4 reports that 29.2 per cent of deliveries recorded in urban Karnataka in 2015-16 were through C-section. Have our mothers become too weak suddenly? Are all these births medical emergencies or is there more than what meets the eye?
Decoding this sheet: Caesarean births in Karnataka have seen a rise from 15.5 per cent to 23.6 per cent in 10 years. Check out the noticeable increase in C-section births in the private sector (from 31.9 per cent to 40.3 per cent), C-section deliveries in government hospitals has come down marginally from 17.2 per cent in 2005–06 to 16.9 per cent in 2015–16. The alarming fact is that World Health Organisation norms prescribes that C-section deliveries should be ideally 10 or 15 per cent of the total number of deliveries in the country.
The online petition referred to earlier, was made by Subarna Ghosh on Change.org to Union Minister For Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi, who taking notice of the matter wrote to health minister J P Nadda, suggesting to make it mandatory for hospitals to publicly display the number of c-section surgeries and normal deliveries carried out.
Many are of the view that money is what influences how gynaecologists and obstetricians advise pregnant women about deciding when to have a C-section delivery. Not only in Karnataka, everywhere it is usually a big occurrence with most mothers and their families dreading the ‘bada operation’ or Caesarean deliveries. Why is it so big a deal? Because of the complications involved.
THE ALLEGED SCAM:
Any given day, private hospitals see close to 10-20 deliveries a week and for a doctor on shift for a week, if even 10 out of these are turned into a C-section then imagine the monetary benefits. There is a difference in the cost: C-section deliveries cost almost double in a private set-up than normal deliveries. In government hospital, the cost is much less. In private hospitals in Bengaluru, a Caesarean section operation costs upwards of Rs 60,000 while a normal delivery costs Rs 40,000-50,000.
For doctors who deliver five to 10 babies a week, that number adds up pretty quickly. Only if you have sufficient medical knowledge can you insist on a normal delivery in case your doctor prescribes a C-Section and you feel it is being done out a financial motive. Unfortunately, most mothers are scared and hoping for the best for their unborn child, go along with the doctor’s recommendation unable to decipher whether or not a C-section is needed. Many women like Subarna Ghosh have often complained that they were advised from Day 1 to go for C-section births by their doctors, despite seeing no complications and also that not many doctors inform them of the pros and cons of the delivery.
WHAT DOCTORS HAVE TO SAY?
While most private hospital doctors have been blamed for preferring to advocate C-section births for it being more financially beneficial, there could be other genuine medical reasons that cannot be ruled out. Often medical conditions in pregnancy like obesity, gestational diabetes, blood pressure, and heart related problems, low level of amniotic water, baby having the umbilical cord around the neck (more than 3 loops), twin births, baby in the breach position or other pre-natal defects in the baby could prompt doctors to advise mothers on C-section over a normal vaginal birth. Doctors have also cited that when it comes to older women having babies at an advanced age (above 35) then complications may arise.
NOT EVERYTHING CAN BE BLAMED ON DOCTORS:
Don’t end up using it as a comfort crutch and if you feel your doctor is forcing this decision on you, don’t hesitate to take a second opinion.
Truly, extreme changes in today’s lifestyle have made it difficult for pregnant women to bear the pain associated with a normal delivery. Epidurals cannot be given to all and many women choose the easier way out and demand their doctors opt for a caesarean birth, unmindful of the complications they are causing. Most of these women have families willing to spend that much money on them all because of their weak threshold for pain.
Another troubling trend that has been noticed among mothers in the city and elsewhere is of women discussing special birth dates, forcing themselves to pop on auspicious dates and lucky dates like New Year’s. It is what you call ‘Babies Made to Order’. It leads us to question the amount of risk mothers are willing to put themselves in, all in the name of a trend. Manipulating a natural process just to boast of a special birth date is quite worrying.
WHAT IS A CAESAREAN BIRTH?
During a C-section delivery, a doctor makes an incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus through which the baby is pulled. It is an invasive surgical procedure and the patient also takes long to recover from its effects. When performed before a mother goes into labour at full term, the baby can be exposed to respiratory distress syndrome and a low birth. Although caesarean births are considered very safe, there are risks, including death.
Even if we were to argue that doctors choosing financial gains is the reason for this, the trend continues to exist mainly because society in general wants it to remain that way – turning a blind eye to the future and getting the work done for the sake of convenience.
Our advice to would be parents is that there is a reason why C-Section deliveries are called emergency procedures, don’t end up using it as a comfort crutch and if you feel your doctor is forcing this decision on you, don’t hesitate to take a second opinion.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:42 PM