Incredibly some women are accused of this to their face, while others are guilt tripped by the media. In fact, the figures used to support such an accusation are very misleading. In the majority of sources, figures actually incorporate all maternally requested caesareans including those which follow recommendations from the mother’s practitioner, i.e. when medical situations or clinician experience indicates that a caesarean might be the safer method delivery.
Where the media talk about unnecessary caesareans, factors such as increased age of first time mothers; practitioner’s desire to reduce operative vaginal deliveries; an increase in the overall incidence of fetal monitoring and a fear of litigation are frequently ignored or conveniently overlooked.
Even if all these factors are taken into account, the figure describing women choosing a caesarean in the absence of a medical need still invariably includes women making the choice because of tokophobia (fear of childbirth), previous traumatic birth experiences or trauma arising from sexual abuse, and others making a positive, informed, prophylactic choice.
And if all of that is not enough. The figures are unable to take account of the discrepancy in the coding of births which can occur between hospitals and the financial and policy decisions made by individual hospitals, as a result of which ‘apparent’ rates of intervention can vary significantly. For example, my second caesarean was coded as an emergency by my hosptial, despite the fact it was a planned casearean, simply because I happened to go into labour before the planned CS date – there was no emergency, it simply wasn’t at the time scheduled, which of course helped make their elective numbers look that bit lower.
At the end of the day, very few women make such an important decision without good reason and such a slur is not only disrespectful but dismisses the complexity of the decision-making the majority have gone through.