To tackle the rampantly practised caesarean deliveries (C-Section) in the country, the Union Women and Child Development Ministry has asked the Union Health Ministry to take measures. The Health Ministry has been urged to make it a mandatory rule for hospitals to display the number of c-section deliveries being conducted every day.
The Women and Child Development Minster Maneka Gandhi has sought surgical data from all private hospitals to know about the actual numbers of C-section deliveries practised. The number of such deliveries in India is way more than other countries of the world.
Gandhi was acting on a petition titled, “Make it mandatory for all hospitals to declare the number of caesarean deliveries,” that has been signed by 137,986 people on Change.org. She has also sought a report from gynaecologists conducting such operations to understand the depth of the issue.
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The rampant practice of Caesarian delivery in India
The alarming number of caesarean deliveries is a growing concern in India as most of such deliveries are practised keeping in mind economic interests. And that is why most private hospitals in our country are encouraging women to undergo surgical deliveries, the minimum cost of which is Rs 40,000.
A c-section delivery is conducted through a surgical incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus, in situations where a normal vaginal delivery could put the baby or mother at medical risk. However, more women are opting to go under the scalpel instead of a normal delivery.
According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, conducted in 15 states and UTs, the rate of c-section surgeries in some states is as high as 87.1%, whereas the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms prescribe c-section deliveries to be at 10-15% of the total number of deliveries in the country. Every year there is a 16.7% rise in c-section deliveries in India, one of the highest in the world.
Informed and educated women are also opting for caesarean as the process is recommended by their physician. Though experts claim that the changing lifestyle of women is making it difficult for them to give vaginal birth to their children, natural birth is always recommended.
Some other reasons of C-section delivery can be cited as avoiding the excruciating pain of normal delivery or even cultural norms like “mahurat baby”.
The complications of C-section
Caesarean deliveries should only be conducted when it is risky for the mother or child when it is a normal delivery. However, the risks of c-sections are many, which include a delay in recovering from post-partum pain, abdominal discomfort, excessive bleeding, infection of the lining of the womb (uterus) called endometritis or infection in the urinary tract or even blood clots and adhesions. Women who have had a caesarian are at increased risk of chronic pelvic pain and bowel obstruction.
C-section born babies are prone to have breathing problems around the time of birth and to experience asthma in childhood and adulthood.
A c-section might put a woman at higher risk for future ectopic pregnancies, including a type known as “caesarean scar pregnancy” that develops within scar from a past C-section. Her fertility is lower than a woman who has a vaginal delivery.
Why natural birth is preferred
Babies born naturally are usually born when they are ready. They have lower breathing problems. The compression of the baby’s thorax expels the amniotic fluid during the birth process and helps prepare the lungs for breathing.
Babies born vaginally receive protective bacteria as they pass through the birth canal. These bacteria colonise in the intestine and are crucial for developing a balanced immune system, from childhood right through to adulthood.
If the vaginal birth is drug-free, the baby will not experience any side-effects of medication administered during the process.
Skin-to-skin contact between the mother and baby can occur easily after a natural birth. This has many physiological benefits to the baby including optimal brain development as well as better attachment and breastfeeding success.
The Logical Indian hopes that the Health Ministry would induce some positive steps to curb the rampant practice of c-section deliveries in the country that are mostly conducted to extract money from trusting patients.