Caesarean deliveries on the rise: doctors

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Karthik Madhavan

ERODE: There appears to be a steady and continuing increase in the number of Caesarean deliveries over the years. Are women finding it difficult to have normal deliveries? What has led to this increase in surgical interventions? Doctors, both in private as well as Government sectors, say the number of Caesarean deliveries has risen due to factors ranging from health to lifestyle.

Take for instance Dr. Nirmala Sadasivam of Maaruthi Medical Care Centre and Hospitals, who says the number of Caesarean deliveries she handles has increased by 20 per cent. "About a decade ago, 80 per cent to 90 per cent women delivered babies the natural way, and it was an easy one. Today, however, it has declined to around 60 per cent." Other obstetricians echo similar sentiments.

At the Government Hospital, Erode, things are no different either: Caesarean deliveries have increased. "Of the delivery cases we attend, around 25 per cent are Caesarean," says a doctor at the Maternity Ward. She adds that a decade ago it was between 10 per cent and 15 per cent.

In 2006, the hospital registered over 4,000 natural deliveries and nearly 1,200 Caesarean deliveries. In December '06 it was 416 vaginal and 126 Caesarean deliveries.

Obstetricians say the reason for rising caesarean deliveries has more to do with lifestyle change and delayed marriage, than medical reasons. "The chances of women who get married late delivering naturally are less because the pelvic bones and cartilage find it difficult to support the passage of babies," says Dr. Nirmala.

As far as the lifestyle change goes, doctors say women no longer work the way they used to. "Girls, soon after puberty, are discouraged from playing and that has a telling effect on their later days. At homes too girls, unlike yesteryears, hardly assist their mothers in cooking, nor do they sit on the ground to do some domestic work," points out Dr. Nirmala, who says sitting on the ground is important because it helps the pelvis widen.

At the Government Hospital doctors perceive an urban-rural divide. "Rural women who work more on the fields and at homes with fewer gadgets give birth the natural way," says an obstetrician who adds that another reason for increasing caesarean cases relates to women who come to GH for second delivery.

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