Doctors said several factors are driving the push for surgical births, from fear of pain during childbirth and the convenience factor to the growing proportion of expectant mothers who are obese.
Twenty-three per cent of women of childbearing age in Canada are obese, and the obesity rate has doubled among 25- to 34-year-old women - the group that gives birth to more than 60 per cent of babies born in Canada ever year - in the past 25 years....
Obese women tend to have bigger and chunkier babies, as well as longer labours, which increases the risk of a C-section.
Yes, as a group, bigger moms tend to have bigger babies. It's called GENETICS. But it's the high induction rates and the FEAR of big babies that is largely driving the high cesarean rate in obese women, not medical necessity. Most big babies can be born safely, and studies show that interventions done when a big baby is suspected often actually cause more harm than benefit. But unfortunately, that has not changed the way doctors manage women who they suspect might have a big baby, especially fat women.
Doctors are not innocent bystanders in the rising cesarean rate, forced into higher rates simply by changing demographics and riskier mother profiles. Older women and fat women have been having babies vaginally for years. It is only recently that the cesarean rates in these groups have become so high. It's how they manage these women that has changed, not their inherent ability to give birth normally.
Shame on them for blaming women instead of having the courage to critically examine their own practices. As I said in an interview about an article I wrote for Our Bodies, Ourselves:
It's time to stop scapegoating women for the high cesarean rate. Changing demographics may play a role, but providers need to acknowledge that the way they manage births has been a very significant factor in the tremendous rise in the cesarean rate. They need to take responsibility for their own contributions to the cesarean rate.