One in three women in the UK (with similar figures across the developed world) experience a caesarean, planned or otherwise. Unplanned caesareans account for as many as two thirds of all caesareans yet they are rarely discussed in a helpful manner. This leaves many of the women experiencing emergency caesareans frightened and traumatised.
Giving birth is one of the most enriching yet physically and emotionally demanding things a woman can face in her lifetime. For many, the decisions taken at this time are not taken lightly. Despite this, women are expected to make these decisions with huge gaps in their knowledge. Caesareans are rarely discussed in sufficient detail, often relegated to a few pages in birthing manuals going little beyond the basics of anaesthetics and the number of people attending. This coupled with the media view that planned caesareans are generally requested by women too posh to push has forced caesarean birth to the periphery of antenatal education.
Unbalanced antenatal education leaves women unprepared and makes it difficult for them to have rational, balanced discussions about caesareans. This omission means that a significant proportion of women (33% in the UK) are potentially excluded from the possibility of a positive birth experience by being unable to prepare for their caesarean outcome. Caesarean Birth: A positive approach to preparation and recovery covers all aspects of caesarean birth and talks not just about the risks and benefits to current and future deliveries but also in great detail about how to prepare for such a birth should it become necessary, how to improve recovery and how to avoid a caesarean (where possible) if that is your preference.
We believe that while natural birth campaigns are very important they focus on one part of the picture and have a tendency to portray caesareans as a last resort. This leaves fear and stigma to become associated with this important procedure. Women ought to have access to information about all birth options and this should include caesareans.
In order to make informed decisions about this important intervention this information needs to be balanced, up to date and respectful. Women need to understand the bias they may be hearing and make their own judgements. Caesarean Birth: A positive approach to preparation and recovery identifies the myths and provides a balanced account of the medical research around this mode of birth.