Letter: Women demand Caesareans

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The Independent Online
Sir: Sheila Kitzinger (article, 22 March) continues to fan the flames of uninformed debate concerning Caesarean section rates.

The increase over the past 10 years cannot wholly be blamed on obstetric intervention. On many delivery suites, staff shortages mean women can no longer depend upon the presence of a midwife for the duration of their labour (the only factor proven to shorten labours and to decrease the number of operative deliveries). Continuous electronic foetal monitoring is now the substitute.

Most women with a breech presentation at term now demand an elective Caesarean section in place of a vaginal delivery or turning the baby. Deskilling of junior obstetricians is the result, not the cause.

Ms Kitzinger fails to realise that the "battle for control of women's bodies" exists only on the pages of her publications. To the vast majority of women and their obstetricians, only two things remain important following delivery - a well mother and a live baby. How these end-points are reached is becoming less important.

ROBERT LLEWELYN

Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist

Swansea NHS Trust

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