In recent time, particularly in private practice, the toll of cesarean sections are quite high in India. I tried to understand why cesarean sections are rising in India using some of my real-life experiences.
The first question is whom should we blame for this rising trend of C- sections in the private practice, the doctors or the patients. The answer might seem like to both, but I feel doctors.
Why? Coming later to the reasons first let me talk about how people think about c-sections.
Some people tell that the women today are becoming to softie unlike females in old days and want everything smoothly without undergoing the bit of the labour pain. But what is wrong if she wants to avoid the pain, it is something about her individual right to decide.
Others feel that a normal delivery might be risky, and many a time the spouse and rest of the family members endorse such view. As the recent trend is towards a small family size of 1 to 2 children per couple people often are boosted with the thought that a c-section will guarantee a good birth outcome for both the mother and the newborn.
Well, patients are free to think and decide how they perceive things. But, doctors should probably not simply nod their head with whatever patients want but aid them to make an informed choice. Unfortunately, I feel, many health care professionals reinforce the wrong patient perception to push them towards a c section.
The next question is why doctors in private practice incline more towards a c-section. Probably because it is an easy way of making money without any need for long hours of monitoring the progress of labour. Furthermore, c-section also possibly make things elective and that eliminates the need of being available 24×7.
What I witnessed is that many women who want a normal delivery and have no obstetric indication for an operative delivery are actually left without any choice. Although said easily that going to a state-run hospital is the solution, in real life that is not compatible to many because of many issues concerns us in such facilities like improper hygiene and cleanliness, unavailability of qualified staff round the clock, a risk of animals inside hospital like cats, missing babies and so on.
Lastly, what can be the solution to avoid unwanted c-sections?
Strong laws are obviously needed to compel private practitioners to follow the conduct of medical ethics.
Besides that the country should adopt better recruiting, training and licensing system for doctors. It may revise its policy to bring in actual talented and hardworking people in the health workforce irrespective to one’s social class.
Also, common man should be made aware of the wrongdoing of unnecessary cesarean sections so that they can demand a normal delivery when there isn’t any indication for a c section.
Furthermore, patients should be given the legal right to keep a record of all counselling they receive (both verbal and non-verbal) about the mode of child delivery as a piece of evidence.
P.S.: Views and opinions expressed in this post are the author’s own, not meant to hurt anyone in any form. If such has happened unknowingly, please understand it as a mere accident and not intentional.