“It’s a girl!!!” That was the excited voice of a new grandmother on the other side of the call but then she added, “But she had the baby through a cesarean section.” This she said in a low almost sad voice.
I didn’t get it. “Was the baby okay?” I asked and I was told that both the baby and mother were okay. So the problem was just the method through which the baby was born.
This grandmothers’ reaction mirrors the reaction of most Nigerians about this method of childbirth. It’s really alarming the rate of childbirth related death cases that happen in the country. Some of these are caused by a number of reasons, lack of good health care facilities, greedy health care practitioners who make sure the patient undergoes some unnecessary medical procedures so as to increase their fees, lack of proper care and sometimes the patient themselves.
Out of curiosity I decided to get some opinions about what people thought about the whole cesarean section method of childbirth and I was amazed at it. Some people believe that it means a woman is not a real mother if she didn’t have the baby through the birth canal. I heard one lady say, she made sure she hid that part of information from her mother in-law or else she won’t have heard the last of it.
I wondered why having oneself cut just to bring a child out was considered inferior to having the baby through the birth canal. Some said they were worried about returning to shape. Some were worried about having a scar while others were just scared about having an operation.
I spoke with some health care professionals about this and realized that in some developed countries, the patients even opt for this as their preferred birth delivery option. Here in Nigeria, most cesarean operations are done because of complications to regular delivery. Most times, it could be that the mother or baby’s life is at risk so an operation is done to save the life. This is what the medical profession is basically about ‘saving lives’.
There was the story about a young, expectant mother, who experienced pregnancy induced high blood pressure and as such her doctor had told her it would be best if she had a cesarean section as she was at risk of losing her life if she tried to have a baby normally. Of course she was scared and didn’t want to go for that option and it didn’t help that her mum equally thought it was a taboo that her daughter should be giving birth that way, so she stopped going for her antenatal care at that hospital.
The doctors thought she was worried about the fees and even promised to do it for free but she refused. On the day she was due to have her baby, she went to a traditional midwife (those women that help deliver babies without any form of formal education) and of cause she developed complications due to high blood pressure and sadly, both mother and child didn’t make it. I’d really wished it was some fictional story but here I was getting the story first hand from the medical personnel herself.
I believe a lot more should be done to reduce these type of senseless deaths. More awareness should be created, maybe the health care practitioners should get their patients to trust them more; because most of this people probably know a lot about these procedures but don’t trust their doctors enough with their lives.
But on a more serious note, we need a new health care reform. How long will the rich keep travelling out to get their medicals?!