The best scientific studies show that the optimum cesarean rates for mothers and children are somewhere between 5 and 10% for the general population. Rates above 15% do more harm than good. Astonishingly, 1 in 3 childbirths in this country are currently cesarean births! This is a dramatic rise from a rate of 4.5% in 1965. Why? An excellent article (to read it click here) outlines the primary reasons:
- Low priority of enhancing women's own abilities to give birth
- Side effects of common labor interventions (such as drugs like pitocin and procedures like fetal monitoring).
- Refusal to offer the informed choice of vaginal birth
- Casual attitudes about surgery and cesarean sections in particular
- Limited awareness of harms that are more likely with cesarean section
- Providers' fears of malpractice claims and lawsuits
- Incentives to practice in a manner that is efficient for providers
Cesarean, like many surgical interventions has its place, but we have reached an unacceptably high level of C-sections--a level that conflicts with our own research on the subject. I encourage mothers-to-be to research carefully methods of childbirth. To my knowledge, the midwife system used in Holland is the best in the world. They use a rational approach: non-complicated births are performed with the help of a midwife in a non-hospital setting, but near a hospital in case of complications. We need to remember that pregnancy is not a disease that requires surgical treatment!