Caesarean deliveries have become a business. The hospitals and doctors are making money off unsuspecting women and pushing them towards surgical deliveries.
Even though serious complications were not detected, I was cut open to deliver my baby. I wanted to have a natural birth but had to undergo a C-section as it was presented to be more ’scientific, modern and risk-free’. I was misled, manipulated, confused and my choice was overriden. For many of us, the right to informed-refusal or consent during childbirth is hardly an option either due to lack of awareness or the high-handed attitude of doctors.
It was a long, painful, depressing recovery for me and when I looked into this issue, what I found was alarming.
India’s C-section rate is growing exponentially. The fact that private hospitals have a much higher rate of C-sections than public hospitals has a direct correlation to the fact that surgical deliveries cost so much more than normal ones in these facilities.
Recent studies show that C-sections lead to a higher risk of post-partum depression and lower breastfeeding rate in women and diseases like obesity and diabetes in children. Despite its adverse effects on maternal and child health, hospitals and doctors are indiscriminately conducting C-sections to make more money. To discourage this trend, women need to be made aware of the C-section rates of different hospitals and maternity homes, so that they can choose their hospitals carefully.
That’s why I, with support of the NGO Birth India, started this petition asking the Women and Child Development ministry to issue an advisory to the Medical Council of India to
- Make it mandatory for all doctors and hospitals to declare the percentage of Caesarean delivery rates to patients.
- Conduct enquiry against those with abnormally high C-section rate.
- Frame clear guidelines for conducting Caesarean to safeguard the health and rights of women and children
World Health Organisation (WHO) norms prescribe that C-section deliveries should be ideally 10-15 per cent of the total number of deliveries in the country. However, in urban Telengana, 74.8% of the private sector deliveries are by C-section and it is as high as 41% in Kerala and it is 58% in Tamil Nadu, according to a report by the ICMR School of Public Health.
It is important that even women are made aware of the impact of Caesarean sections, which truly is an emergency recourse and not a routine medical procedure. The fact is that only 10% of births should be via C-section, however, in Indian private hospitals that rate is close to 50%. This is a serious health risk and the government has to take action NOW!
Sign my petition and ask the Women and Child Development ministry to end this harmful practice by hospitals.
Image Courtesy: abdn.ac.uk