Muhammad Zaid Ashfaq
The big question: Elective Birth or Natural Birth
Some people believe that giving birth is a miracle. They believe it is a miracle in two ways. Firstly, the unique experience and it’s amazing nature, and secondly, how a mother can actually live through all that unimaginable and intolerable pain. But not all people believe in miracles. There are many who tend to skip the fear-striking pain of a pure natural birth through use of technological advancements or delivery aids. These aids can take many forms: Epidurals, Spinals, and lastly the Caesarean section. Epidurals and spinals are the anesthetics used to relieve pain during a vaginal birth while a Caesarean section or C-section (C.S.) is major surgery to the mother`s abdominal wall muscles and the womb to deliver the baby. It eliminates the need for painful contractions to deliver a baby through the birth canal. Either as a responsible father or a loving mother, all of us have to take this crucial decision of choosing between an aided birth and a natural birth. Which one should be the choice of a mother? What are pros and cons of a planned C-section? Some people believe the benefits of a natural birth are beyond argument, the answer seems simple and straightforward to them but the statistical facts and results are somewhat confusing and thought provoking. As Mara Hvistendahl mentioned in her article “Caesarean Nation”, according to a survey in China by the World Health Organization, “46 percent of babies were born though cesarean section—the highest documented rate in the world”(Hvistendahl, “Cesarean Nation”).In USA, according to National Centre for Health and Services (NCHS),“The cesarean rate rose by 53% from 1996 to 2007, reaching 32%, the highest rate ever reported in the United States” (USA, “Trends in Cesarean Delivery in the United States”). Several other studies attest these rates to have been following a general rising trend since 1990`s. This means, today, more than half of children in China and every one in three American babies are born through C-Section. According to an article on ‘PakistanToday.com’, the C-section ratio in Lahore has boosted up to “40-50 percent” in the public hospitals (Muzaffar Ali Sial, “Increasing number of C-sections crosses all danger thresholds”). Although C-section is considered a safe surgery, its undesirable effects on a child`s health are not 100% conclusive by research but, in comparison to a natural birth, its risks do not seem worthwhile because of many unexpected complications, risks and post-birth issues. The most intriguing question is: Why do so many mothers plan a C-section if it is harmful for their baby? To begin with, first the studies are not 100% conclusive on the harmful effects of a C-section on a baby`s health .They only indicate some probable risks which are often neglected due to the large success rate. These researched risks are minimized to the extent of elimination when the babies are close to their due date or 39-41 weeks. Dr. Carey Winkler, a medicine doctor of Legacy Health system, agrees “Babies born in the early-term time frame are at increased risk of complications, which increases the costs to the health care system.” In addition, he also stated that of those 37-39 weeks, “In the short run and the long run, these kids have more problems” (Flam, “Hospitals take 'hard stop' on early elective C-sections, inductions”).In an another article by Haskell, Michele Larsen, the Oregon chapter’s communications director said, “Thirty-nine to 40 weeks is the gold standard” (Haskell, “Elective C-Sections & Inductions Banned in Some Hospitals”). These researches indicate that certain life threatening risks for the baby are only noticeable at premature deliveries before 39 weeks. There are many woman and doctors who claim the success of a C-section to be greater than an average natural delivery but it is only if they, by any chance, find the best due...
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