I care a great deal about what happens to women giving birth. I care that over 30% of American women today have major abdominal surgery in order to have a baby, because most of those surgeries are preventable.
I care because cesarean sections have a huge host of risks to both mother and baby. Here is a short list of some of the risks of cesarean sections, from the International Cesarean Awareness Network:
A cesarean section is major abdominal surgery with all that entails. The surgery itself, as opposed to medical problems that might lead to a cesarean increases the risk of maternal death, hysterectomy, hemorrhage, infection, blood clots, damage to blood vessels, urinary bladder and other organs, postpartum depression, post traumatic stress syndrome, and rehospitalization for complications. Potential chronic complications from scar tissue adhesions include pelvic pain, bowel problems, and pain during sexual intercourse. Scar tissue makes subsequent cesareans more difficult to perform, increasing the risk of injury to other organs as well as placenta previa, placenta accreta, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, uterine rupture in subsequent pregnancies and the risk of chronic problems from adhesions. There are also risks to the baby such as respiratory distress syndrome, prematurity, lower birth weights, jaundice, lower APGAR scores (APGAR is the means of assessing the health status of a newborn), and finally in 1 to 9 percent of cases the baby is scarred or even maimed by the scalpel.I care because there are better ways of doing birth. Three of the four women did not desire a cesarean. Now they are dealing with the aftermath of the surgery. They will always live with their scars and their emotional wounds.
I care because a 30% nationwide cesarean rate is an incredible waste of medical resources. It is indicative of an obstetrical care system that has failed women.
I care because it is so hard to be "allowed" to have a vaginal birth after cesarean in this country. Many hospitals do not allow VBACs--which is ridiculous, because how can you outlaw an involuntary bodily function? The first cesarean often dooms women to repeats, unless she does an extraordinary amount of research and makes choices that are socially frowned upon--such as hiring a midwife for a homebirth, or birthing unassisted.
I care because my friend (woman #4) loves her baby, but hates everything about his birth. She has told me that she feels violated by what happened to her. It IS my business to care.