In a world where we’re not even allowed to make basic decisions about our lifestyle or appearance without facing judgement - I find it difficult to believe that women are the driving force behind the soaring caesarean rates.
“THE UN’s World Health Organisation has warned that too many women in developing and wealthy countries are resorting unnecessarily to caesarean sections to give birth.”
Cancel that. I completely reject that notion.
My own experience preparing for a VBAC tells a very different tale, and I know thousands of women who tell the very same one. “I wasn’t allowed” is the common statement that keeps jumping up to smack me in the face.
It’s common knowledge that there’s more than one way to give birth, but how many of us actually know all of our options?
Sadly, few women are telling me stories of supportive care providers providing evidence based care. If they were, this would be a whole other article. How are you supposed to even make an informed decision, when your doctor omits options? When carers repeatedly (and automatically) default to a standardised protocol for every woman’s care, or worse yet, make recommendations based on their own personal beliefs, this is what happens.
The c/s rate goes through the roof. But who gets the blame?
Women, of course. Apparently we’re too posh to push. Well, I call bullshit on that one. Sorry, not sorry. It’s ludicrous to place the blame squarely on the birthing woman, when her providers are so often the ones to lead her down the path most likely to end in surgery with their one-size-fits-all approach.
So whose fault is it?
Everyone is quick to blame the woman for not educating herself, but how are we supposed to do that, when half of the information is hidden? How is it that when attempting a VBAC, I was treated as if I was incapable of making a safe decision for myself and my baby- and pressured into intervention after intervention….. until it eventually led me to the operating theatre again.
I’m not the only one.
But I can only speak for myself.
I’m not comfortable with shouldering the blame for being swallowed up by the cascade of intervention I suffered twice, when that very cascade was caused by taking the recommended course of action.
Once a caesarean, always a caesarean, right? WRONG!
It's precisely this attitude that contributes to our low rate of VBAC, which further compounds the epidemic.This article also neglects to mention that the primary c/s rate is rising... leading to more women choosing between VBAC and c/s. What article?
That in turn, will result in an even higher caesarean rate, due to the sheer volume of unnatural and anti-VBAC policies a woman faces when she walks into a hospital for a subsequent birth. Despite the WHO recommending VBAC as the safest option for most women with one (and even more) previous caesarean, we’re still receiving the slice-n-dice special by default.
I don't know many women who would choose this if they knew their rights. Image source: Wikimedia commons
Our national VBAC rate is about 16%.
Only 16% of all who attempt will be successful. I'm not surprised, after trying myself. What that stat doesn't tell you though, is how many women were discouraged by the restrictive policies and scare mongering from care providers, and just succumbed to their pressure to have another caesarean.
When the first thing you hear at every antenatal appointment is the risk of catastrophic uterine rupture and bleeding out in four minutes flat…….. No wonder so many of us are electing caesareans. It’s difficult to trust statistics when there’s a hidden element of women who are coerced, bullied, or lied to- in order to gain their compliance and book in for surgery.
Speak out about that coercion though, and prepare to be crucified. Everyone knows women are liars and doctors are infallible, right? Doctor bashing is what you will be accused of.
Up yours, society. Seriously.
Suggesting that women are just booking major surgeries willy nilly, because they’re shallow, or rich, or whatever, is disgusting. It’s the overuse of intervention becoming routine which has led to this epidemic.
Its not women wielding the power in the birthing community. It should be, but it isn't. Try declining a recommendation from your OB and you'll see what I mean.
Am I taking crazy pills here??
How is nobody noticing the fact that in order to undergo surgery, a woman requires a surgeon's assistance????!! We aren't just cutting ourselves open here, people. Wake up!
I'll leave you with a question, because frankly, my head hurts and I can't think about this any more without my soul catching ablaze.
If we women are so reckless and uneducated that we're asking to face the added risks that come with caesarean births unnecessarily...... Why aren't the noble and almighty doctors stopping us by refusing to operate?
Either way you look at it, it's the OB's who prefer the scalpel over support and holistic care, that are the ones to blame. Women aren't pressuring their doctors to carve them up for no apparent reason. Yet somehow it's still our fault.
How convenient. It is they who hold the power in the birth suite, and us who carry the blame for their unethical practises.
Not to mention the scars, and the sorrow. Those belong to us, too.
Thank you so much for your heart felt share. I am so sorry you were abused in this way. The main problem with maternity care today is litigation. We are so afraid of being sued that we intervene too often and too soon to make sure that a live mum and baby are left at the end. You are right, teaching women how to labour without medical intervention is the way forward. I have had 2 out of 4 pain free labours and I want to pass on the knowledge. For VBAC advice, see my post: http://painfreelabour.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/vbac-at-home.html
contains info on why VBACs fail so that yours can be a success.