Super Single Mum's Blog

Life and all the shananigins!

Too Posh to Push?

It’s all over the news today. All women in the UK now have the right to ask for a c-section if they want one. This has stirred up mixed feelings with me.

The idea is that by offering the choice, many women will make an informed decision and as such the amount of emergency sections particularly those due to mum’s who have fears about the birth, will in turn reduce. It is also suggested that if a woman requests a section and is then given all the facts, she is more likely to decide on a natural birth than a section. There’s plenty of debate going around saying that this just opens up the doors for the “Too posh to push” generation of mums. There is also debate that it is the mothers right to chose exactly what birth she wants and so if she wants a section she should have one. I can kind of see where these guidelines have come from but at the same time it does make me wonder if this will lead to sections that are not medically necessary.

As a mum of 2, both born through sections but in completely different circumstances I have to say I am trying to look at this impartially. B was breech and so was born by elective section 2 days before her due date. With H I wanted to attempt a natural delivery (VBAC). I was told of the risk of a natural birth and the risks were pretty low so I felt safe in my choice. It was only when I came close to my due date that I asked what the course of action would be if I went over due. I was told that I would be induced, they would use a lower dose so as not to start labour too fast but that there was no further risk. I asked about a section and was told that induction would be preferred as there was no medical reason why I couldn’t deliver naturally. I did go on to be induced. I did experience labour. And I was rushed into surgery for an emergency section, putting me and H at risk, as my uterus did tear. I looked into it a few months down the line and found most guidelines state VBAC mothers should not be induced due to it increasing the risk of uterine tearing significantly. Whilst I was dead set for a natural delivery, when I asked the question I should have been given the facts correctly, it may have made a difference. Whilst yes more expensive than a natural birth it would have been easier and cheaper than the 5 days in SCBU, blood transfusions for me and keeping us both in hospital for much longer.

I don’t think the issue is that women have the right, I think the issue is what is termed as medical reason. Up until now, the only medical reasons taken into account have been the physical health of the baby and mother. If you have a mum who has experienced trauma in child birth previously, and has a phobia or post traumatic stress or depression from the last birth this to me is medical reason, yet up until now has not been reason enough. If you have a woman who has previously had a section, whether she wants a section or not she should be given the risks specifically for her. If a woman is offered counselling and support to prepare for the birth but is still too anxious and fearful that she asks for a section, this is a medical reason. Mental health covers phobias, anxiety, depression the lot, and is a medical reason even if not physical. If a woman wants a section to fit in with her diary, this is not a medical reason and I don’t think in this case a woman has the right to this choice.

A woman’s body is designed for child birth. At the same time I wonder if it is advances in medical science which have led to 1 in 4 women requiring a section. I use myself as an example again. My body doesn’t make babies easily. I was on fertility treatment with B and I wasn’t able to safely deliver naturally. H was conceived naturally but my body couldn’t deliver naturally. In years gone by I wouldn’t have had children, but had I conceived naturally the first time, I would have most probably died in childbirth as B was hugging her feet rather than being in the foetal position. Sometimes we do override the bodies natural instinct with medicine and sometimes this can cause further problems. I wouldn’t change my kids and I wouldn’t say I disagree with fertility treatment, but I wonder if my issues are because my body wasn’t actually right for bearing children!

I have to conclude that I am on the fence with this one. I agree that every mum has the right to the birth she wants. I do worry though that some will see an elective section as the easy option as it really is not. H is 3 now and my scar still itches at times. Getting my tummy back is impossible. Recovery straight after the birth is very long. But I know some mums who I believe want a section on medical grounds have in the past been told no for the wrong reasons. So what do you think?

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November 23, 2011 - Posted by | Parenting | , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Hmm – I commented on this but it’s gone 😦

    In brief – I said that I personally didn’t believe in medical intervention unless it was in the best interests of both mother and/or child.

    Having said that I would agree that in some cases there could be valid psychological reason to consider a c section.

    I think the final choice should be made only with the agreement of a medical professional who is in possession of all the relevant facts.

    A c section – as you have said – should never be considered the ‘easy’ option (not sure you used those exact words though)

    Comment by Sarah Mac | November 24, 2011 | Reply

    • Not sure where your first comment went I only got notification of this one!!

      Yes you’re right what you say, I agree the rules needed to be reviewed to accommodate those women with real fear – whether triggered by a problematic earlier labour or what ever. I just feel maybe the rules to accommodate “every woman who wants one” has gone to the extreme!

      Comment by supersinglemum | November 24, 2011 | Reply


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