Natural births vs C-Sections: Emotional tales of five women in India

Maneka Gandhi, Women and Child Development minister, recently spoke against the rise in the number of C-sections in the country. SheThePeople.TV talked to five women from different ages and backgrounds to know of their experiences; and opinions on the rise in C-Sections. [Feature Image Credit: scha.com]

Lack of beds in government hospitals

“I find it true that doctors have been misusing their expertise to conduct more C-Sections But, with the growing world, medical complications are on the rise and women deserve good health care, ” says 40 year old Santosh Kanwar, her urge to ensure better care comes from personal experiences. “In 1997, I had a normal delivery from a government hospital, the biggest one in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. They were so overcrowded that after giving birth to my daughter, I was made to sleep on the floor. They put three women on one bed and when that didn’t suffice, I spent a few hours without a bed. The experience reminds me of the state of government healthcare.”

Motherhood on SheThePeople

Motherhood on SheThePeople

The money for C-section has reasons behind it

“In a C section you have extra doctors, anaesthesia, extra help and a lot more things. This attention is very much needed. May be its more driven in a private set up than government hospitals. The worry would be if government hospitals had a bigger number. What would you say to couples who just go the C section way out? “says Mamta Bhati, who has recently given birth to a baby girl. “My first inhibition was a good gynaecologist I was introduced to one who apparently 99% helps in natural births.”

The situation half a decade ago

Sixty seven year old Chhanda Das recollects a medical system which was simpler than the one today. ” I gave birth to my first daughter in Dibugarh Medical College, Assam. It was a normal delivery.  The government hospitals were better in those days, I never felt like I was being denied any facilities.” she says.

“Nursing homes were second option in those days, only the very rich actually went to them. We knew where to go, the services we had to avail. Today I feel that nursing homes have propped up at nearby distances and the awareness is going away from government services.” adds Chhanda.

The diverse opinions by doctors 

“I had a medical complication in the form of a polyp, early in the pregnancy. The suggestions given by government and private doctors were very different” says 29 year old Megha Singh. “My long term private doctor didn’t pressurise me for a C-Section, but he kept on suggesting it. The government doctors actually told me that I could still have a natural delivery, then there was a private doctor who painted a picture that anything other than a C-section would be disastrous. Finally, my decision was to go for a C-section, but I feel that private doctors do give a version which shows natural births as less possible, that should be stopped” she says.

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For the masses who can’t afford private doctors, government facilities are the only option

29 year old Swarnmala Padhgan works as a cook in Pune’s urban households. A mother of three, she is satisfied with the care government hospitals have provided her.

“I think the minister’s decision to target greedy doctors is correct. When I was about to give birth to my first child, the private hospital asked for fifteen thousand, we couldn’t afford that kind of money. The government hospital ensured that I could deliver at a minimal cost. I know doctors who just want to make money will be angry, but we need to ensure facilities which are for all. When a doctor makes a big bill, there might be some who can afford it, but what about those who can’t?”

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