Thursday 21 September 2017

Promoting C-sections may suit hospitals more than patients

Newborn baby
Newborn baby
Deirdre Conroy

Deirdre Conroy

What do pregnant women want? A healthy baby and the mother to survive the childbirth too, please. Women want informed choice, they don't want to be told how to deliver their baby, whether they are a public patient or paying for private healthcare.

Rising instances of litigation and multi-million euro damage settlements may be linked to the increase in C-sections, particularly in rural hospitals with fewer resources, but is it right that the doctor should choose on behalf of the expectant mother? If there's a risk, whisk the baby out, but encouraging a C-section might suit the hospital more than the patient. This seems to be the argument from the natural birth camp.

While recent statistics present an alarming geographic anomaly, they don't indicate what is elective and what is emergency, the age range or the ethnicity. Are women in Kilkenny (38pc caesarean sections in St Luke's hospital in 2011) more likely to elect or be encouraged to have a C-Section? Aja Teehan lives in Kilkenny and lost her case against the HSE this year, because it would not indemnify a self-employed community midwife for her home birth. As she had a previous C-section, the HSE and its insurers obviously didn't think it is as safe as a 'natural' delivery.

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