C-sections have become more common in the last several years for various reasons, including medical conditions
Almost one in two women who goes into labour in the city needs surgery for childbirth. According to obstetricians, although textbooks state that only 15 to 20 per cent of women delivering would require surgical assistance, in government tertiary care hospitals and in Corporation maternity centres, the percentage of babies delivered through Caesarean sections (C-sections) is higher than the number of women who have normal deliveries.
Although obstetricians opt for C-sections when the mother has difficulty in delivering the child, it has become more common in the last several years for various reasons, including medical conditions, which makes normal deliveries impossible.
Last year, in all three tertiary care maternity hospitals in the city, almost 50 per cent of the babies born were through C-sections. At the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (IOG) in Egmore, 50 per cent of the women who were admitted for childbirth underwent C-sections.
One of the reasons for this is that the tertiary care centres cater to high risk pregnancies, said IOG director K. Jayashree. “Caesarean sections here are life saving procedures. We see women with pregnancy-induced hypertension, gestational diabetes or conditions like bleeding in pregnancy.”
Apart from this, the hospital also receives women who have had a previous C-section and have become pregnant within two years of the earlier pregnancy. “You need two years' time for the inner scars to heal, and a pregnancy before that could lead to repeat Caesareans,” Dr. Jayashree said. The hospital gets around 200 women in its outpatient ward everyday.
Superintendent of Kasturba Gandhi Hospital P. Gopinath said one of the reasons for the increasing number of C-sections is that unlike in the past, the focus is on saving the baby and the mother. Around 45 to 50 per cent of the women here undergo C-sections. More personnel at the hospital are needed, he said, adding that each day around 25 women delivered babies there.
The Rajah Sir Ramasamy Mudaliar Maternity Hospital in Royapuram, also records a high number of C-sections – 51 per cent. “Women generally enter pregnancy in poor health and are anaemic. There is a a genuine reason for opting for Caesareans, and we do an audit. Although fewer women are dying of anaemia, it is still a problem,” said a staff member here.