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C-Sections Chinese Mothers' Choice
Source:Chinese Women's Research Network | Release Date:2010-9-15-
Title: C-Sections Chinese Mothers' Choice
Release Date: September 15, 2010
Keyword: Caesarian section, WHO standard

Each August sees a surge in the number of births by Caesarian section. Beijing hospitals report that c-section is now the preferred method of delivery of 80% of expectant mothers.

China's c-section births now stand at 46% -- a world high and far in excess of the accepted 15% standard.

The United States and Britain regard 15% as acceptable. In Japan only 7% of births are by c-section.


Between the 1950s and 1970s, only 5% of expectant mothers opted for c-sections. A substantial rise occurred during the 1980s, and continues.

One reason for this preference is that it gives parents more control over when their children start school. Primary schools in China only accept children who turn 6-years-old on or before Aug 31. Those born just a couple of days later must wait a full year before starting school.

"We are trying to control the number of c-sections and encourage natural deliveries," Deputy Dean at the Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital Yu Song said. She believes that both expectant mothers and physicians account for the high c-section rate.

To many pregnant women, imminent childbirth brings both joys and concerns. Scientific data indicate that 95% of women fear the pain of labor. Many wrongly assume that c-sections guarantee a safe, painless delivery. That many celebrities have chosen this method has also made c-sections appear the ideal childbirth mode.

Amenable Surgeons

Convincing obstetricians in Europe, the United States and other countries to perform c-sections is no easy matter unless a conventional delivery places the mother's health or survival at risk. Chinese doctors, on the other hand, are apt to accede.

"The delivery process is complex and uncertain. If something should go wrong after a c-section request has been refused, physicians and hospitals concerned could face serious legal consequences," chief physician at Peking University Third Hospital Li Shilan said.

Doctors also agree to perform c-section deliveries to avoid tension in doctor-patient relationships.

The procedure saves doctors a great deal of time and trouble. First-time mothers often have a labor of 12 hours or more before giving birth, but c-section surgery takes just one hour. Doctors hence find it preferable, both from the standpoint of convenience and because it avoids the risk of maternal injuries, stillbirths and complications in infants.

Emergencies Only

Conventional deliveries are proven to take less recovery time and cause the mother less physical injury. They are also of greater benefit to babies, particularly that of instant bonding after birth, which is impossible with c-section procedures.

The process of contraction and extrusion stimulates the baby's skin, peripheral nerves and cerebral cortex, which prepares a child for the world outside the safety of its mother's womb. Children born by c-section often face the risk of sensory integration dysfunction.

"As an invasive surgery, the potential risks of cesarean deliveries are far higher than in conventional births," Li is quoted as saying. From a medical standpoint, c-sections are for emergencies. Recovering from them needs more than a band-aid.

Potential mothers of the post-80s generation should bear in mind that c-sections could damage their long-term health. Side effects of surgery include pelvic endometrial exposure, chronic gynecological diseases and endometriosis – serious ailments that could plague them for years.

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