C is for Caesarean Birth

Perth is Australia's Caesarean Birth capital

According to The West today.

Not that there's anything wrong with that - if it's your informed choice - or it's medically necessarily.

The fact that the Western Australian Health Department has released WA Hospital Caesarean rates is to be commended. It's the first step into transparency around what you can expect at particular hospitals. However,

'The World Health Organization recommends that the caesarean section rate should not be higher than 10% to 15%'

(source World Health Organization. Appropriate technology for birth. Lancet 1985; 2: 436-7)

So the question remains, why are all these women giving birth this way. Are they all making informed choices?

rowan.simpson  Free Photos

 Research has found that there are risks of caesarean birth. According to the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services,

Risks of caesarean birth include:

  • Accidental surgical cuts to internal organs
  • Major infection
  • Emergency hysterectomy (because of uncontrollable bleeding)
  • Complications from anesthesia
  • Deep venous clots that can travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism) and brain (stroke)Admission to intensive care

Potential Harms to Maternal Attachment and Breastfeeding

  • Women who have unplanned caesareans are more likely to have difficulties forming an attachment to their babies
  • Women who have caesareans are less likely to have their infants with them skin-to-skin (cradled naked against their bare chest) after the delivery. Babies who have skin-to-skin contact interact more with their mothers, stay warmer, and cry less. When skin-to-skin, babies are more likely to be breastfed early and well, and to be breastfed for longer. They may also be more likely to have a good early relationship with their mothers, but the evidence for this is not as strong.
  • Women are less likely to breastfeed.

So if you are planning a pregnancy, or you are pregnant -  educate yourself as best as you can about your care providers (including hospitals).

A good doula should be able to provide you with evidence-based information on your local options so that you can make truly informed decisions. They should also be able to prepare you and your partner for what happens when a Caesarean Birth is necessary - so that you feel fully prepared.

Working with a doula, you can tailor your birth plan, so that if a caesarean birth is necessary - you can still achieve some of your preferences such as choice of pain-relief drugs, immediate skin-to-skin with your baby, and so on. Having a doula can also help you create a home environment to promote bonding and breastfeeding post-partum.

If you have already had a caesarean birth, then you might want to consider contacting an organisation such as Birthrites, where you can meet other ladies who have had caesarean births, attend month get-togethers and give and receive support.

If you would like to discuss your pregnancy and birth choices, and whether or not a doula can help you achieve the birth of your dreams, please Contact me.