Friday, May 22, 2009

C-sections 'a rational choice'

First read (by clicking the link) -

"Women are often urged to opt for a "natural" birth - such as having a baby at home - wherever possible.

But in this week's Scrubbing Up health column, Philip Steer, emeritus professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Imperial College, London, says rejecting Caesareans is like rejecting technological advances in transport or energy generation."


This argument is so severely flawed in so many ways its hilarious. If he wants to use the example of "modern technology" we could also take a look at how the result of modern technology has given us a plethora of problems that only years and years down the line have we come to fully comprehend. Lets use the example of antibiotics - great invention that has saved countless lives, but it's overuse (and misuse) has resulted in mutations of diseases that are now resistant to them.

C-sections are also wonderful and *do* save lives in many instances but it is unbelievably foolish for this man to be suggesting that it is now the answer even over a natural birth in an uncomplicated pregnancy. We don't yet have a generation of children born primarily by c-section that have reached old age and I'm almost certain we will see some serious effects that c-section birth causes in the long term.

If modern technology has taught us anything it's that we should not plunge straight in, but use it in appropriate ways until we fully understand the effects it will have. Someone might like to remind our well-learned friend that a vast number of people are embracing older forms of housing construction (cob houses etc), solar and wind power, non-plastic items, and other forms of older or more natural ways in place of technology, due to the damage certain modern technology has caused the environment.

He also fails to mention that part of what causes the higher mortality rates in Africa and India has a lot to do with things like nutrition, education and the introduction of basic hygiene practices - as if the *only* reason they have "saved" the poor Africans is by using his great, amazing "modern technology".

Given the choice between having this man deliver my baby through surgery or going to an African community and being looked after by the women there while I squat and push my baby out - I take African village any day! I'm a young, healthy, strong woman who is having a baby, not a sick patient who needs a clever doctor to come in and save the day! And pass on the plastic surgery as well - even if it's one of those tummy tucks they do during a c-section. My stretch marks and various other things pregnancy has done to my body are beautiful reminders to me (and others) of how I did the most amazing thing ever - I made, and grew a beautiful healthy little boy in there! I would also like to mention that have a friend(a proud HBACer) who took up belly dancing post-babys!

"but many women see childbirth as an essential "rite of passage" and exhort others of their gender to eschew technological assistance"

Now that sentence really made me see red! The implication here is that he feels it is not a rite of passage. Perhaps in his view it is just another day, no big deal in the grand scheme of things. No longer should women be interested in "giving birth" to their child, but should embrace cold, unemotional modern technology and allow a qualified surgeon to surgically removed a parasitic growth from her abdomen?!

Yes, I may be overreacting here, but seriously, how callous is he being by even implying this? What is wrong with wanting to give a beautiful birth to the child you have carried in your belly? For nine months the woman has worked hard at eating correctly, exercising correctly and doing all that she can to help nurture her growing child. For many women to take an active role in finally bringing their child into this world is a very important rite of passage.

Half of what is wrong with the world today is our complete dismissal of important life events that help prepare us psychologically for a new phase in our lives. He is also effectively demonstrating a fundamental flaw of modern western medicine that totally forgets the human being in its entirety. He simply sees this as a fetus, a womb and that one must now exit the other. There is a complete dismissal of the spiritual, emotional and psychological parts of the whole picture. I might mention to him here that in Africa and India, this is one thing they get right!

I wish there was a way that people like him could stop for a moment and think. Better yet - LISTEN! Listen to what women are saying to him. He has been given a very privileged position when a woman entrusts him to assist her in the safe delivery of her child. It's time he realised that!

4 comments:

Carina said...

Sarah - could you please forward your response to Professor Philip Steer, British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology editor-in-chief. He can be reached on the website: www.bjog.orgEditor in Chief. Also - you can then put a face to the name - click on Editor Profiles. Personally' I'd like to put a cream pie in his face!

Jenny said...

He also overlooks the effects of cs on the next birth, the next baby. Accepting a doubling of the risk of stillbirth for your next baby is not, I would argue a rational choice and women are often not given this evidence. As to the rite of passage, no he won't understand that at all, I suspect he has Asperger type tendancies, he certainly shows no degree of empathy with the women he should be serving.

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