Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Birth Announcements by Scriptiva Paper Studio

In October last year, 
it was announced that in the UK 
women will be able to choose whether to deliver their baby
vaginally or by Cesarean section

Through my American eyes, I just could not wrap my head around this one

Generally speaking,
American women would not opt for this surgical procedure unless recommended by an OBGYN -
with its longer recovery and inherent risks as with any surgery

In the US
it would seem irresponsible to completely leave it up to the woman to choose
to have an elective cesarean if it was not medically indicated
(excluding subsequent births after a C-section)

But talking to English women, 
100% of them in my little poll are supportive of the availability of this choice
But why?
I have been chewing on this one for a while...
Having not delivered a baby in the UK, I am no expert on the NHS system. But it appears the only 'known' on your birth plan is your hospital (which may be assigned, but at least known ahead of time). You are unlikely to have met your midwife previously. And naturally the looming unknown of each childbirth can create a fair amount of fear. So I can see having a planned C-Section could bring some comfort and would help organize your life around the birth. I get that.

...a mantra becoming popular among the affluent

A quarter of births here are delivered via Cesarean section (I'm not sure how many of those are elective), so now they are officially creating an option for what doctors have been quietly persuaded to do by patients anyway.

Is it any different from other elective surgery, including a knee replacement or cosmetic surgery? It is the woman's body after all, and she should ultimately make the decision once she knows the facts and risks.

Most births are delivered by midwives. Some mums feel the natural and holistic methods of midwives are forced upon them. (i.e. might not induce until 42 weeks)

Retro Luggage available via This Vintage Girl

As an aside, items listed below always are provided for labor and delivery patients in US hospitals. UK patients are advised to pack the following for their stay in the NHS hospital:

- 2-3 gowns/clothes to wear during labor/delivery
- towels and soap
- 24 super absorbent sanitary napkins
- 5 or 6 pairs of underwear/'pants'
- diapers/nappies
- baby blanket and hat

It is also worth noting that toilets and bathrooms are often down the hall to be shared with other patients. And don't be surprised when your recovery is in a postnatal ward room shared with 5 other moms with newborns.

Another interesting difference is if you have a doctor, he is likely to be referred to as a 'Mister [Last Name]', not 'Doctor'. 'Mr.' is used for highly specialized doctors, so it is a good sign if that is his title. If he is a 'Dr.', he is not as highly trained. Women specialists are referred to as 'Miss [Maiden Name]' even if they are married.

And lastly, the hospital can provide a gas mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide (Entonox) through a mask or nose piece to laboring patients to make pain more bearable. This would have been a great option for me (and for my husband!) during my labor. I think this is similar to 'laughing gas' in the US. Reportedly there are no side effects to the baby, while the mother may feel lightheaded, nauseous, and/or a loss of concentration (in which case discontinue use). Anyone else vote for this during labor in US hospitals? 

I'm curious as to your thoughts on this topic :)
I find it fascinating

Post Script:

- Thank you Meg, for adding husbands can't stay overnight in the hospital with postpartum wives in the UK

- Unlike the US, babies are not granted UK citizenship just for being born in England. A baby will be given American citizenship, not UK citizenship, if born to American parents in the UK.

More medical posts:
The Dentist
More On The NHS

Sources: NHS, The Telegraph