Cesarean section surgery, also know as C-sections, are becoming a lot more common place in the delivery room than they were even just a decade ago. Are complications to blame or is this medical intervention being used as an alternative to birthing naturally?
The Growing Trend of Cesarean Surgeries
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that Cesareans are on the rise by 53% since 1996. The C-section rate was listed as 21% in 1996 and a climbed to 32.8% in 2010. According to the World Health Organization the suggested rate of C-section should not exceed 15 percent. Cesareans can be beneficial in situations where complications arise. However, the problem is that these procedures are often used inappropriately on healthy women with little or no complications.
Dangers of Cesarean Surgeries
C-sections can result in problems in the mother such as:
- Loss of blood
- Placenta problems
- Complications in future pregnancies
- Ongoing pelvic pain
- Uterine rupture and bowel blockage
Babies can experience:
- Breathing problems
- Difficulty breastfeeding
- Disruption in healthy gut flora
- Childhood onset diabetes and asthma
Why Are Cesarean Surgeries Skyrocketting?
With more and more information exposing how cesareans cause more harm than good, why are the numbers continuing to skyrocket with 1 in 3 women in the U.S. delivering by cesarean? Many people are under the misconception that the rise in C-section rates is due to complications in pregnancy and labor that make this surgery necessary. There are two major factors causing the increased trend.
1. Casual Attitude Towards Surgery
Our culture has become increasingly tolerant of clinical procedures, even when they are not medically necessary. Many common interventions such as Pitocin and Epidurals can cause side effects that prevent the mother from finding comfort. This causes the body to progress too slowly, which can result in fetal distress and increase the likelihood of a cesarean. Instead physicians should be informing more women on the complications and long-term problems that can occur, using interventions and procedures only when necessary.
2. Money Talks
It should come to no surprise that monetary and personal incentives also have a role in the sharp ascent in the surgical procedure. Payment schedules compensate more for a C-section as opposed to a vaginal birth. In addition to the higher monetary payout, the personal perks can be just as inviting. A C-section can be less time consuming and even better, a scheduled C-section can allow the practitioner to organize their work and personal life more efficiently without having to support a longer vaginal birth, while at the same time, earning more profit.
The Need For Change
Over the years there has become less and less of a medical focus on enhancing women’s confidence in the ability of the body during labor. Simply spending more time educating women on how to handle the birthing process, as well as fostering an environment to help make the mother as comfortable as possible, are healthier and less expensive alternatives to the operation. Healthy diet and exercise also play a key role in reducing the chances of having a cesarean. When women become empowered to take an active role in pregnancy and childbirth the need for unnecessary interventions is reduced.