FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Chinese Women Should be Wary of C-Sections

In China, an increasingly high number of cesarean births (C-sections) are being practiced in the country. The situation has reached epidemic proportions, and some of its serious consequences should make Chinese women think carefully before requesting this procedure. Today, China has one of the highest rates of C-sections in the world, estimated at 46% in 2007.

There are several cases of the use of this technique in ancient history. Luzhong, a sixth-generation descendant of the Yellow Emperor, had six sons, all born by “cutting open the body”. Jilian, the sixth son, founded the House of Mi that ruled the State of Chu.

The view that a woman has the right to make decisions regarding her body and her health has led many of them to make a choice regarding the method chosen to give birth. And increasingly throughout the world, women have been demanding to have their children born through a Cesarean section.

In this regard, a Cesarean delivery on maternal request (CDMR) is a movement that may have started in Brazil, one of the countries with the highest number of Cesarean born children. The use of this procedure, however, carries some health risks, warns the World Health Organization, which doesn’t see the advantages of the shift from vaginal birth to Cesarean birth.

In a survey of nine Asian nations, the WHO found that unnecessary Cesarean sections are costlier than natural births and raise the risk of complications for the mother. Many experts still insist that natural birth is the ideal way. “The relative safety of the operation leads people to think it is as safe as vaginal birth,” said Dr. A. Metin Gulmezoglu, who co-authored the Asia report, “but that’s unlikely to be the case.”

The WHO, which reviewed nearly 100,000 births across Asia in 2007-2008, found that 27 percent were done by Cesarean section, apparently motivated by mothers’ request and hospitals eager to make bigger profits. Slightly higher results were reported by the WHO in a study conducted in 2005 in Latin America, which found that 35 percent of the women surveyed delivered their babies by Cesarean section. In Europe, there are big differences among countries: thus, while in Italy the Cesarean section rate is 40%, in the Nordic countries it is only 14%.

There are several reasons why women in Asia prefer to have their babies by Cesarean section. Many women fear the pain of natural birth or worry that their vaginas may be stretched or damaged by a normal delivery. Others, however, believe that this procedure is less risky for the mother. And, also, some women choose surgery for their delivery after consulting fortune tellers for “lucky” birthdays or time of the day to have the procedure performed.

Many experts in Latin America have warned about the abuse of the Cesarean section, particularly in countries such as Brazil, where it has reached extremely high levels. Many expectant mothers in Latin America even schedule their surgery to avoid giving birth during special holidays and even in some cases to make them able to attend some parties.

The hospitals financial profit may also be behind the abuse of Cesarean section. For example, in China’s larger cities a Cesarean can cost up to twice the cost of a natural birth. According to the WHO study, 62 percent of hospitals in Asia that were surveyed reported having a financial interest in performing Cesarean sections.

In China, abuse of Cesarean births may give rise to some specific problems related to the health care delivery system. For example, they may provoke an increased demand for hospital beds, anesthesiologists, operating theaters and laboratory and blood transfusion facilities, in detriment of more serious cases deserving attention. In addition, a study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women who had undergone several Cesarean sections were more likely to have problems with later pregnancies.

According to some experts, the introduction of the one-child policy in 1979 may have contributed indirectly to the increase use of this technique. They claim that because the risk is lower when there are fewer repeat cesarean sections, parents who expect to have only one child may choose what they believe is the safest option. However, very little is known about the safety of Cesarean section in China, in spite of the fact that such information is much needed.

More studies are now needed in China on the reasons women may choose Cesarean births and an analysis of their consequences on the health of the mother and the child. At the same time, the promotion of midwifery-led maternity care models that emphasize natural birth should be promoted.

More articles by:

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
Jasmine Aguilera
Lessons From South of the Border
Manuel García, Jr.
A Formula for U.S. Election Outcomes
Sam Pizzigati
Drug Company Execs Make Millions Misleading Cancer Patients. Here’s One Way to Stop Them
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Agriculture as Wrong Turn
James McEnteer
And That’s The Way It Is: Essential Journalism Books of 2018
Chris Gilbert
Biplav’s Communist Party of Nepal on the Move: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian
Judith Deutsch
Siloed Thinking, Climate, and Disposable People: COP 24 and Our Discontent
Jill Richardson
Republicans Don’t Want Your Vote to Count
John Feffer
‘Get Me Outta Here’: Trump Turns the G20 into the G19
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail