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Too late to reverse rise in C-sections?

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February 25, 2008

READING "C-SECTIONS leap to 1 in 3 births in Bay State" (City & Region, Feb. 14), I couldn't help but think that the evolutionary process in the reproductive system is nothing short of breathtaking.

For eons we females had been capable of giving birth with very little medical intervention. Then childbirth went into the hospital, and the process became a medical and increasingly surgical event.

It wasn't until about 40 years ago that the caesarean rate began to rise dramatically, from 5 percent in 1968 to today's 1 in 3 and climbing. For much of that time, as you note, it was "popular to deliver subsequent babies by vaginal birth." Apparently, the lightning speed of female evolution has also made vaginal birth after caesarean far too dangerous.

When Nancy Wainer and I wrote "Silent Knife" in 1983, we hoped our work would reverse the trend and give women confidence in their bodies' innate ability to birth their babies. If this trend of surgical intervention in the natural process of childbirth continues, the only women who will birth their babies naturally 50 years from now will be those who don't make it to the hospital in time for their caesareans.

LOIS J. SHAEVEL
Jamaica Plain

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