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Call for a user-pays ceasearean sections regime

9 September 2002

Parents Centre calls for a user-pays regime

for elective ceasearean sections, for non-medical reasons.

The rising rates of caesarean sections, for non-medical reasons represents an unhealthy attitude towards birth and an irresponsible approach by those Lead Maternity Carers who are not providing a medical justification,” Parents Centre, National Childbirth Education Advisor, Sharron Cole said.

“Giving birth is a demanding experience, it takes deep reserves of endurance and stamina. In contrast, elective caesareans for social reasons are a self-centred response to birth, using precious health dollars for private convenience.”

“Elective caesareans - for social reasons - (also called “designer deliveries”) are increasingly the preserve of professional women whose sense of control is about time and place, not about the process of birth. This represents an inequitable distribution of maternity resources,” Sharron Cole said.

Parents Centre wants this situtation addressed by:
- Developing a comprehensive education campaign about managing a healthy and active birth which addresses the fears and expectations associated with giving birth,
- Providing better information for both mothers and LMCs about the risks and costs associated which a caesarean section,
- Ensuring that all caesarean sections performed within the public health budget are medically justified,
- Establishing a user-pays regime for caesarean sections, which are not medically justified.

“In a society, which has become very rights-based, it is deceptively easy to think of women choosing an unnecessary caesarean section as solely being about the rights of the individual. When we exercise a right of choice, we do not have the right to trample on the rights of others to access maternity resources.”

“Being in control is more than just time and place, it is about fitness – physical and mental. Healthy eating and exercising remain important factors. So too is the need to recognise that birth is a natural phenomena for which woman should be encouraged to trust their own instincts; not succumb to medical convenience or the mistaken belief that a caesarean section is either safer or easier than vaginal birth”

Parents Centre is a non-profit organisation which has been advocating and providing antenatal and parent education in New Zealand for 50 years. It supports and educates more than 8,000 members through 54 centres around New Zealand.

Ends…..

For more information…
Contact: Sharron Cole 04 586-1113 or 025 2300 281 or Judith Stanley-Dyer 04 905 5762

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