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Are private hospitals pushing too hard for Caesarean births?

18 February 2015 11:08 AM
The majority of births covered by a medical scheme are done by C-section, Kieno explores why and if women really do get to choose.

Are we seeing too many births by Caesarean section?

Patti Good is the leader of the My Birth My Choice campaign, whose aim is to empower women with the information needed to make their own choice when it comes to birth options.

The Council for Medical Schemes shows that the majority of births covered by a medical scheme were done by C-section.

Good says that she's encountered a high proportion of women in South Africa who says they would have preferred to give birth "naturally" than by C-section.

There have been questions raised as to whether C-sections are encouraged by private hospitals as more patients can be attended to in a hospital, and can also generate more by way of additional staff and resources required. There is also the convenience factor of scheduling births so that births don't take place after hours and over weekends.

Good also adds that there appears to be long-term health implications on children born by C-section, as they aren't exposed to beneficial gut flora in the same way that children who are born vaginally.

Listen to Kieno Kammies' interview with Patti Good below

Dr. Peter de Jong is an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital. He spoke to Kieno Kammies about the mothers rights and also dismissed allegation that doctors encourage women to opt for C-section over natural birth because of money. Doctors are able to schedule for C-section, meaning they can perform more than 25 procedures a day which brings in more money. Dr de Jong said that although doctors pay R450 000 for litigation insurance, that should not be an indication to having a caesarean section.

Yes, Caesarean section rate is high but the most important thing is that every woman that needs Caesarean section gets Caesarean section... It is her right to choose… It’s her decision

18 February 2015 11:08 AM