Why do caesareans happen?

Births do not always go to plan and sometimes medical interventions are essential during labour to assist the delivery of a baby. In some pregnancies conditions known before the birth lead practitioners to recommend a caesarean rather than vaginal delivery, while some women request a caesarean for reasons which do not specifically require medical intervention. In all cases it is important that women are given balanced information about what they are facing. Unprepared, interventions can leave some women feeling ashamed, cheated, intensely disappointed and/or traumatised. This seems to be particularly likely when their antenatal education does not effectively ‘manage expectations’ about birth with all its possible outcomes (including instrumental vaginal delivery and caesareans).

Antenatal educators have a fine line to walk between scaring women and providing them with just enough information to support them when their birth does not go to plan. However, insufficient preparation can have a staggering on-going effect on the mother, her family and her subsequent family planning. Caesarean Birth: A positive approach to preparation and recovery talks in a lot of detail about the many positive things women can do prior to their birth to accommodate a caesarean birth should it become necessary and it is my sincere hope that these will become a standard part of the advice that is given to women during their antenatal classes.

While the UK media talks of women demanding caesareans because they are too posh to push, Sweden has identified fear of birth as a major cause of women requesting caesareans. Caesarean Birth: A positive approach to preparation and recovery talks at length about the many reasons why mothers and practitioners may plan a caesarean ahead of time (amongst these the fear of childbirth) or indeed why it may become necessary during labour. It talks too about how to prepare yourself and those around you for such a delivery and includes lots of ideas on how to improve your recovery experience.

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