C-Sections On Demand: "Labor Shouldn't Be Viewed As A Rite Of Passage Into Motherhood"

While doctors in America are actively trying to reduce the number of elective C-sections, pregnant women in Britain may soon be able to get a cesarean section on demand.

As the Huffington Post reports, the government provides free health care in Britain and a new rule change critics say is the health care system caving into the “too posh to push” crowd will allow women with “no identifiable reason” to have a c-section if they still want one after a discussion with mental health experts.

“In general, a C-section is a safe operation, especially when performed as a planned procedure,” the new guidelines, which come from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, say. They will take effect later this month. Pauline Hull, mother of two who has had two sections because of medical reasons and says the guidelines are long overdue.

“It’s about time women who have no desire to view labor as a rite of passage into motherhood be able to choose how they want to have their baby,” Hull says. “The important thing to me was meeting my baby, not the experience of labor.”

Hull runs the website, Elective Cesarean, from her home just south of London and says midwives exaggerate the risks of C-sections and underestimate those of vaginal births.

Babble’s own Meredith Carroll agrees, calling her scheduled c-sections a “satisfaction guarantee”.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in Britain says it routinely updates guidance every few years and denies there was any pressure to change its more restrictive C-section advice. But in recent years, advocates and some doctors have slammed the U.K. health system for not giving women a greater say in childbirth.

Some experts don’t see the new guidelines as a big deal. “It’s only a small percentage of women who ask for a C-section,” said Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives.

“As long as it’s safe for both mother and baby, a vaginal birth is absolutely the best way for anyone to deliver,” said Dr. Daghni Rajasingham, an obstetrician and spokeswoman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. As we’ve reported here on Being Pregnant, although safe, c-sections come with a risk of infections and are generally deemed harder to recover from.

“Women shouldn’t think a C-section is going to be a walk in the park, but they should have all the information they need to help them make an informed choice,” Hull retorts. True. Some even say that whatever pain you miss from labor, you get on the flip side with recovery.

Personally, I prefer a vaginal birth as I’m kind of into childbirth as experienced by millions of women before me and medical intervention but I’m also grateful that c-sections are so safe and are an option should I encounter any medical emergencies. However, I don’t think I’d ever schedule one. What about you? What are your thoughts about c-sections on demand? Should women, especially those who, as Hull says, “have no desire to view labor as a rite of passage into motherhood” be able to have the birth of their choice?

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