Mothers Are Increasingly Having Caesarean Deliveries For Weird Economic Reasons

September 7, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

More mothers are having caesarean deliveries than necessary, wrote The Economist. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Hospitals make more money from caesareans, which can be a complicated procedure, than from natural births.
  • Moreover natural births take time. Doctors are paid per delivery and they can deliver several caesarean children in the time it takes for a natural birth to run its course.
  • A caesarean makes it look like a doctor is putting effort into the birth and makes parents less likely to sue if there’s a problem during the delivery.
  • There are also mundane human motives at play. If a baby isn’t ready to meet the real world towards the end of a Friday, or by the end of a shift, then impatient doctors may just call for a caesarean.
  • In fact an abnormally low number of babies are born on public holidays, with doctors presumably wanting to enjoy long weekends.
  • It’s not just doctors nudging expectant mothers though. Some parents want their children to be born on certain dates for good luck.
  • And those in developing countries may just be afraid of being stuck in traffic on the all-important delivery date if it’s not pre-planned.

This, The Economist notes, is a bit of a problem:

  • There’s no doubt that caesareans are important in multiple cases. Countries that don’t have enough caesareans suffer.
  • However if caesareans are being used for any more than about 15% of pregnancies then they’re being used too much.
  • The procedure is dangerous – those who undergo it are three times more likely to have emergencies during the delivery process.
  • It can also lead to weaker children who don’t pick up the bacteria they normally do through a natural birth.

Read more about the distorted baby heads that maybe playing a role, how to make mothers comfortable during a natural birth, and many other fascinating details here.

Source: The Economist