Day 7 – Maternal Choice

Choosing a caesarean birth is undoubtedly one of the most debated and controversial areas of maternity care, yet also one of the happiest and most appreciated experiences for women who make this choice. On this last day of Celebrating Caesareans Week, we are invited to share the moments of joy and happiness of families who requested a caesarean birth, and were supported by their healthcare team.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case, but as the the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) proved in June this year, support, understanding, and respect for maternal autonomy is growing, and we can celebrate that.

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Former president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Dr. W. Benson Harer, says:
The last remaining bastion to fall to achieve true women’s liberation is the right to determine how they will deliver their babies, including by cesarean delivery if that is their choice.

CBCAN - Nicola Prentis - Quote - CDMR fought for
My first c-section baby, a birth I fought
long and hard for
and finally had to move
hospital to get. Exactly the birth I wanted
and luckily I was able to get my second
c-section without any fighting.
CBCAN - Sheila Harrington - Quote

Here are my four lovely c-section babies (one emergency and three elective). I couldn’t have had better birth experiences. Healthy babies, healthy me. I was given unbiased information regarding my choices and treated with dignity throughout.

CBCAN - Donna Prentis - Quote - choiceBefore I was even thinking about having babies, I knew I wanted a caesarean birth. There was no aspect of vaginal birth that I wanted to happen to me. My four caesareans were calm and controlled, with no chance of the potential complications of vaginal birth. Recovery was short. I am so happy that I was lucky enough to be able to choose the births I wanted. I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t have the children I have now were it not for the freedom to choose, and it’s all thanks to a very understanding, and non-biased, consultant.

18-Aug-14 Doctor chose planned CS - Celebrating Caesareans Week - border

This is a response I received on Twitter this week, which was written by a physician. I wanted to share it here because very often, maternal request caesarean is viewed solely as a pathological condition that is best handled with psychiatric treatment.

In fact, as with many physicians and/or physicians’ partners or wives, it is most often the case that a woman has appraised the risks and benefits of different birth plans, and decided to plan a caesarean birth. This is a legitimate choice, and one that is celebrated by many women in full knowledge that it is one our ancestors did not have.

It is most important that balanced information is offered, and each woman’s final decision is respected and supported.

  • Produced by author and journalist Pauline Hull

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