A new study in British Columbia has found that, contrary to what some doctors and media reports might contend, the growing cesarean rate is not driven by maternal demand. This is similar to previous findings from the Listening to Mothers study in which only one out of over 1,300 mothers in the study reported requesting her cesarean without medical indication.
As reported in the Vancouver Sun:
The study, which examined all deliveries in B.C. between 2004 and 2007, suggests regional disparities are due to differences in doctors’ approaches and lack of resources — not because women are requesting them or their medical conditions require them more in certain communities.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health, found that the number of caesarean births ranged from a high of 27.5 per cent in South Vancouver Island, to 22.1 per cent in Vancouver, to a low of 16.1 per cent in East Kootenay.
Only a small proportion of C-sections — two per cent — were performed because mothers requested them. The wide variation remained even after researchers accounted for medical conditions and maternal characteristics that could necessitate an assisted birth, such as smoking, weight gain, diabetes and high blood pressure.
ICAN of Lower Mainland co-leaders Mieke Bray and Elodie Jacquet were quoted in the news article.
Mieke Bray had a caesarean last May due to a complicated birth. She was two weeks overdue, and tried a synthetic hormone to induce labour at B.C Women’s Hospital.
Shortly after, Bray’s placenta detached from her uterine wall. Bleeding excessively, she was rushed to the operating room for an emergency C-section. Fifteen minutes later, her second son, Tait, was born.
“It never occurred to me that I would get a C-section,” said Bray, 34, whose first child was born naturally. “I do yoga, I’m a vegetarian, so I’ve always lived a naturopathic lifestyle.”
Bray admits that the C-section saved her life, but she still found the experience traumatic.
Elodie Jacquet, 28, also had a caesarean last July. She had planned a home birth, but as she went into labour, her baby’s heartbeat began decelerating. After being induced, Jacquet’s baby got stuck in her pelvis and could not turn.
“They said, ‘I’m sorry but we’re going to have to give you a C-section,’” said Jacquet. “I didn’t want one, but I wanted whatever’s best for my baby.”
Soon after, baby Liam was born. Seeing that he was healthy, Jacquet wondered if the induction and the following caesarean was really necessary.