Birth through Caesarean section is becoming an epidemic, a leading obstetricians has warned.
"Any surgery could become hazardous and could lead to major crisis. With Caesarean this is the risk if the procedure is not carried out by competent obstetricians," said Dr Dermot MacDonald, former Director of the Dublin-based National Maternity Hospital, which is one of the largest maternity hospitals in Europe.
Speaking at a seminar in New Delhi, he said that in India Caesarian births were assuming alarming dimensions. Expectant mothers were at risk when they underwent this procedure, he stressed.
"In India it has been estimated that around 80 per cent of the cases are done through Caesarean Section. There is a diminished vaginal operative delivery and a four to six fold increase in Caesarean births, " he pointed out.
Caesarean section was more common in private hospitals in India. Doctors were driven by commercial reasons as the procedure cost more as compared to natural birth, he felt.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Caesarean Section should be only 15 per cent of all deliveries.
"But there is a dramatic increase in abdominal birth particularly in the low risk mothers and among those in the higher socio-economic groups," Macdonald said.
Favoring natural births, he called upon hospitals to provide modern methods of pain relief and to counsel expecting mothers against Caesarean Section unless until it was so required by the facts of the case.
He stressed that it was an obligation on the part of the doctors concerned to provide all necessary information to the mother, though the final decision should be left to them.
Macdonald went on to note that little was known of the psychological effects of various birth processes in relation to baby bonding.
"It is worth studying the psychological effect of the birth process on a mother, especially if she has gone through the procedure. It should be explored what are its impact on her sexuality, her relationship with her husband and her family," he added.