Why is it we think of vaginal births as the ideal way to give birth?
Why do we just assume vaginal birth is necessarily safer?
Why aren’t women told of the risks and possible compilations of vaginal births including tearing, haemorrhage and incontinence?
Why do we think vaginal births are the best thing for mother and baby?
Why do we assume vaginal birth is necessarily safer? Image via IStock.
That’s the subject raised by researcher Mairead Black from the University of Aberdeen.
In fact 9 in ten women who have a vaginal birth will either suffer a tear to the genital region or require a surgical incision during delivery.
Black says that one in six women end up having an operative vaginal birth, such as use of forceps associated with faecal incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse in later life.
New Scientist pointed out in an article last year that a landmark Swedish study found that 20 years after giving birth, 40 per cent of women who had a vaginal delivery had some form of urinary incontinence, compared with 29 per cent who’d had a Caesarean.
While studies have shown that 95% of women aim for a vaginal birth in their first pregnancy, only around 75% achieve this.
Black writes that in fact 21% of women under go an emergency caesarean section during labour, which is not as safe as a planned one.
In the UK doctors are now facing the prospect that they will legally have to inform women of the risks of a vaginal birth after a court ruling over a vaginal birth.
Hans Peter Dietz, an Australian obstetrician who has researched how the risks of a natural birth increase with age told The Daily Mail that women deserve to be ‘treated like adults’ and given unbiased and accurate information.
He conducted a study that found for every year later a woman has her first child, her risk of the pelvic floor muscles tearing increases by 6 percent.
That’s not to say that caesareans are the better choice, they too come with risks. Black points out that scarring from a caesarean makes each future pregnancy more risky as it can affect the development of the placenta. She says there is also some concern that babies born by caesarean could be at higher risk of developing asthma.