I’m not pregnant and in no imminent danger of surgery, but I was in a discussion recently that really made me think. According to some sources, the c-section rate is ballooning. But not the emergency-delivery type of c-section, but the pre-planned kind of c-section. In the discussion I was in, some were claiming that many of these were essentially “elective” c-sections, which is a claim I found suspicious. C-sections are fairly safe as far as procedures go, but they do have notable risks and I find it hard to believe that doctors would agree to perform one for any reasons other than medical necessity.
However, I know from my sister’s case that this does happen at least sometimes. She doctor shopped until she found one that agreed. Officially, it was due to pre-E, but the diagnosis was based solely on my sister saying she had headaches and she worked 60 hours a week until the day she delivered. (Literally, she went in that day.) Basically, my sister was the general manager and the company needed to know when she would be out so they could cover her. She was afraid she’d loose the job if she didn’t get a doctor to agree to deliver the baby on their schedule.
I always assumed that this was an outlaying situation and a particularly lousy doctor, but after participating in the aforementioned online discussion, this is apparently a much more common thing than I thought and some women feel pressured by their employers to deliver by c-section. Thinking back, I remember that with my last two pregnancies, I was asked to provide a date for my delivery. I was also contacted by my direct supervisor in both cases and told that he “needed to know” in order to get coverage for me. At the time, I just laughed and chalked it up to the general stupidity of bureaucracy, but in retrospect, I could see someone less oblivious than myself taking that as pressure to arrange a c-section. My employer also has a policy that gives two extra weeks of paid leave to parents who deliver by c-section. I always assumed that was because the employee would need two extra weeks to heal from surgery, but assuming a world where a woman can ask for a c-section for non-medical reasons, that does sort of put the pressure on.
The group I was having the discussion in is a wide variety of walks of life, including a larger percentage women who work for hourly wages and don’t have access to the most reputable health care, so I was curious about the demographic in this forum, which is probably more middle class to affluent, and health-conscious in general. Have you ever heard of someone being pressured into a c-section for non-medical reasons? Have you ever heard of someone being able to persuade the doctor into doing one? Any idea why a person would prefer this to an induction? I know they do these for non-medical reasons as my second pregnancy was induced (at full term) as my doc was going on a medical mission to Haiti and I didn’t want to be left at the mercy of whatever floor doctor happened to be around that day. But a c-section is a lot different!