Saturday, November 5, 2011

{Ottawa Doula} Scared of birth? No worries, have a c-section - for free!

Thanks Laura Hughes (@Lo_Hughes), for sending me this article and inspiring another blog post! :)

I read an interesting piece in The Globe and Mail today, in their online "Hot Button" topics.

Supposedly the country's National Health Service is going to cover the cost of women undergoing c-sections for no "identifiable reason." In other words, elective cesareans.

I'm sure the whole natural birth community will be up in arms over this one. Who knows, it may even increase the cesarean section rate in the UK, which is definitely not good news.

But I wonder whether this is the right response - firing off an angry blog post about women who are "too posh to push" is setting yourself up for a lot of criticism. You may not worry too much about that, but I know I do.

I care about women. All women. And I care about their freedom of choice.

No, personally, I would not have an elective cesarean. And I would hope other women wouldn't make that choice as well - I don't think it's the right one.
But a c-section is an option that is out there, and doctors are all too willing to offer one.

The point of this article, though, was to point out that the NHS will now be covering c-sections. That's a different story, than say, an opinion piece on women being "too posh to push." All of a sudden, the option is open to women who, previously, may not have been able to afford it.

So the question becomes: progress or problem? Is offering cesareans for women who are, for example, deathly afraid of labour/birth OK? What about for women who have been sexually abused? And women who believe the myth that you will never be the same "down there" after a vaginal birth?

The choice is out there, whether we like it or not. And although I strongly feel that the answer to my question above is "problem," I also don't feel comfortable blaming the women themselves for making the wrong choice. I don't know what their situation is in life, and I don't know what issues they face.

Instead of offering cesareans for free, I think the NHS would do better putting their eggs in another basket. Why not begin providing non-baised and supportive prenatal education to all women, for free? Maybe those who harbour extreme fears of birth would be at least better prepared to face the challenges. And what about doula support, for free?

So no, I don't believe this issue is one of "too posh to push." I believe this issue is one of dollars and sense. More dollars, and a load of nonsense.


  1. Or having midwives as an alternative to an OB. The support they offer is incomparable as you know.

  2. No problem! Great analysis! It's funny that I'm actually really fascinated by this birth stuff now (yet no desire for kids of my own (yet)), all from reading your blog!

  3. So glad to have found your blog! As a Doula and prenatal educator myself in Ontario I think the
    " push" should be on us to provide sound support and education on what vaginal birth is and isn't.Providing more opportunities for women to voice their fears and have adequate support at all stages of labour would also go a long way in bringing down the number of
    " elective" surgical births. Now if only we could get OHIP to fund labour support here!


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