Sunday, August 12, 2007

the rise of the great c-section

i'm literally shaking with anger right now after reading this article originally printed in the new yorker. i don't know what is wrong with atul gowande but he seems intent on terrifying women readers everywhere by creating the illusion that childbirth is a death defying feat requiring all of medicine's interventions to "correct" it. wait - scratch that - gowande is a SURGEON. so it makes sense that he believes that c-sections are better for women than vaginal births.

thank goodness for henci goer's fantastic and well thought out response to the original article. you can read that here.

"Gawande makes no case that these interventions improved outcomes. In fact, he notes that EFM has not been shown to benefit babies while increasing the likelihood of cesarean, and cesarean section carries the risks attendant on any major surgery plus the future reproductive risks of a scarred uterus. Despite this, Gawande has no quarrel with the increased use of cesarean surgery on the grounds that it is:

  • easy to teach, 
  •  is a “reliable” but not a better option, 
  •  is “comfortable” for obstetricians, 
  •  can be performed with “consistency,” 
  • is a “simpler, more predictable way to intervene,” and is believed by obstetricians to be less risky than “natural childbirth.” (This, of course, is not the same thing as actually being so.)"

of course c-sections have saved lives. but CERTAINLY they are not required for the nearly 30% of all births that they now account for. interestingly enough, dr gawande is the director of the World Health Organization's Global Challenge for Safer Surgical Care. it is the same world health organization that calls for a c-section rate of approximately 15%. that's half of what dr. gawande thinks is acceptable.

i'm in bad mood now.


connie said...

"The more she looked into it, however, the more worried she became about being paired with someone annoying. "

this is the most irritating to me- and that it was presented with no other discussion on a doula- just the assumption that they were annoying, and she would be stuck....

Prink said...

I have torn feeling about the rise of c-sections. While I do not feel that anybody should be able to walk in and request one, I don't think they are all together horrible. Having been through 2, soon to be 3, I can tell you that it is no walk in the park. I have been made to feel like I'm less of a woman for having them, when I'm not sure if labor and delivery is any harder. I have been through labor. 20 hours of it. On a constant drip of pitocin. Audrey was 9 days late and I would have agree to anything. She would not come out of my body. I was exhausted after 20 hours of constant contractions and horrified that I had only dialated to 2. I don't see how my story could have turned out any differently? I consider myself a semi-strong woman I guess, but I think my c-section was justified. I couldn't have gone on with such slow progress. I guess what I'm saying is that I think every woman should experience anticipation and labor, but if it doesn't happen within a reasonable amount of time OR if there is reason for concern I think a c-section is a good option. I know YOU AREN'T one of those people who find my c-section an uncalled for surgery, but I have been called out by some people. They thought I should have stayed there on my little drip until my 10lbs. 3oz. kid ripped through!