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Newborns's weight increasing rises caesarian births in China (3)

(Global Times)

13:09, July 10, 2013

Avoiding pain

Dong Lifang, a gynecologist at the Jianye District Maternal and Childcare Service Center in Nanjing, said that the young moms, usually single children, tend to resort to caesarian sections to help them avoid the pain of natural birth.

Dong's organization focuses on preaching the benefits of natural birth to pregnant women, However, Dong told Metropolitan that a woman working in their audit department chose to have a caesarean section, which surprised her a lot.

"My colleague's chest sometimes felt tight during pregnancy. While when she went for a physical examination, the result showed that her heart is healthy and she could have a natural birth. But she was terrified by the exaggerated accounts of pain during natural birth that are circulating online, and chose to have a caesarean section," said Dong.

Dong said another reason for the increase in caesarians is that babies on average are heavier than they used to be. In the past, most babies in China weighed around 3 kilograms, but now 4 kilogram babies are increasingly common.

Wu Shaowen, a gynecologist at the Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, said that when he first started his work ten years ago, only around 5 percent of babies he delivered were more than 4 kilograms. Now this figure has soared to more than 10 percent.

"It was rare to see babies more than 4.5 kilograms several years ago, but now a very heavy baby isn't something to gawk at," said Wu.

Wu said the reason for the increase in weight has to do with an increasingly affluent lifestyle. "Pregnant women are given excessive care. Some of them don't do any exercise, don't work, and only stay in bed, and they are provided with too much nutrition like ginseng and bird's nest," noted Wu.

Wu also stressed that the preconception that it is difficult for women above 30 years old to have natural birth is wrong, and they do not as a rule need caesarian sections. Many woman decide for themselves that they want caesarians, but Wu said people should listen to their doctors' advice. "Doctors can diagnose a pregnant woman's situation professionally," said Wu. He noted a caesarian birth should only be performed when women have difficulty in childbirth.

Wu says most gynecologists face a dilemma. On the one hand, they hope to encourage people to choose natural birth. On the other hand, they worry that families will retaliate if the birth encounters difficulties.

"I once encountered a woman who threatened to file a compliant against me because I ignored her demand for a C-section and insisted that she should give birth naturally," Wu said. "In the end, it turned out well because her family supported me and the woman listened."

"People nowadays think that a C-section can solve all their problems. They cannot accept any possible risks that may happen in natural birth," said Wu. "Why should we take the risks of being punished because of patients' complaints if they don't want to take risks themselves?"

In Wu's hospital, the caesarian section rate now is more than 40 percent, but in 2009 and 2010, the rate had increased to nearly 60 percent.

Dong told Metropolitan that greed also drives the high caesarian-section figures. "A natural birth only costs around 4,000 yuan, but a C-section operation could cost around 10,000 yuan. This is why some hospitals encourage the C-section," Dong said.

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