More mums opting for ?caesars

THERE was no way Samone Pickering was going to have a vaginal birth when she could have a caesarean.

"Why experience all that pain?" asked Ms Pickering, whose first baby was born by caesarean, and whose second is soon to be.

"I felt great after the first one, I was out and about the next day.

"So many of my friends have had complications during vaginal births, and I don't want to risk having to go through the same thing.

"I know there are risks with caesars as well, and they do say the second is worse, but it's scarier for me to go into labour.

"With a caesar, it's all over within 40 minutes."

But Sonya (who did not want to be named) had a different experience when her baby was born by emergency caesarean.

"I was up to one-minute intervals with my contractions, so I know what labour feels like, and I would have preferred to have had a vaginal birth," she said.

"The recovery would have been over and done with within a week, but as it was it took six weeks.

"I also missed out on the whole bonding experience, because I couldn't pick my baby up, I couldn't wash him, and I was all groggy when I saw him for the first time and for 24 hours after that."

But Ms Pickering is part of the growing number of women who opt for elective caesareans, according to a new report.

The New South Wales Mothers and Babies 2004 report found that the rate of normal vaginal birth fell from 67.1 per cent in 2000 to 62.1 per cent in 2004, while the caesarean section rate increased from 21.3 per cent to 27.2 per cent.

Of these, 15.3 per cent were elective, compared to 11.5 per cent in 2000, a figure NSW Health Minister John Hatzistergos said he found 'alarming'.

"While in some circumstances caesareans are necessary for clinical reasons, I would be most concerned if the increase was unrelated to clinical need," Mr Hatzistergos said.

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