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Are Some Women Really Too Posh To Push?

Are more affluent mums-to-be really more likely to choose a C-section as their form of delivery? A new study shows a marked hike in C-section rates under private care

The ‘too posh to push’ debate has started again, following a study comparing which type of women opt in for a caesarean.

The study, published by the BMJ, compared 30,000 women who had their baby at an Irish hospital offering both private and public-funded care. To take an compromising factors out, the researchers adjusted for a number of factors including maternal age, weight, marital status, health and whether the women have had children before.

The researchers found that 21 per cent of women under private healthcare opt for a C-section compared to 8.9 per cent of publicly funded mums-to-be.

The ‘too posh to push’ debate has started again, following a study comparing which type of women opt in for a caesarean.

Around 34.4 per cent of privately paying mothers had a C-section, while 22.5 per cent of public patients did. And 11.9 per cent of news mums with private care had pre-planned surgery compared to 4.6 per cent of those under publically-funded care. 

However, the researchers said that it was not possible to determine whether the decision to give birth via C-section was driven by the mum-to-be or her doctor. But the study did show that the women who received private care were older, more affluent and more likely to have become pregnant through assisted conception.

‘Although speculative, it seems quite likely that private patients are provided with greater choice in relation to a scheduled caesarean section,’ the researchers said. ‘It is debatable whether this is actually in the woman’s best interest, particularly when it comes to the next birth.’

The Irish health system is slightly different to the one in the UK. In Ireland, publically funded hospitals can offer services to patients on a private basis on an 80:20 public-private ratio. While the NHS is in the process of introducing a system with similarities, allowing up to 49 per cent of hospital income to be made from private patients, this currently doesn’t happen.

In the UK, a woman does have the right to opt for a C-section, with both NHS and private care. The World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines state that the decision to carry out a caesarean should take into account the woman’s circumstances, concerns and priorities, but if a woman requests a caesarean section, the reasons for this should be explored, discussed and recorded.

Did you opt to have a C-section? Let us know below.

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