Saskatchewan

Doula wants to see lower C-section rates in Saskatchewan

A Regina-based doula argues that too often, doctors treat child birth like a disaster waiting to happen, resulting in a high percentage of C-section births.

WHO recommends 10-15 per cent C-sections per region

Sara Beckel, of Family First Doula Service, in Regina. (CBC)

A Regina doula argues that too often, doctors treat child birth like a disaster waiting to happen.

A doula provides emotional, practical and physical support to mothers during the birthing process. 

Sara Beckel said the rate of caesarean section births in Regina is higher than what is recommended by the World Health Organization.

"One small intervention at the beginning tends to snowball and it ends in this emergency C-section," she said. "So we have to ask the question, if we wouldn't have intervened in the first place, would we have ended up in a position of that emergency C-section?"

The WHO recommends the rate of 10 to 15 per cent in a given region.

In July, 21 per cent of births in the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region were done by C-section.

The health region said that percentage represents a decrease when compared with past years.

Pregnant woman consulting with a doctor at the hospital. (iStock)

"Our caesarian section rate for 2012 was 25.1 per cent and it's declining. Our rate last year was 22.8 per cent, and our rate in July of this year was 22.1 [per cent]," said Dr. Corrine Jabs, head of obstetrics and gynecology with the health region.

"We provide high-risk care to all of southern Saskatchewan. And yet despite that, we have one of the lowest rates of caesarian across the country," she said. "I think that's because we use the tools in our toolbox to the best of our ability."

In Beckel's view, there's an easy way to ensure the percentage drops to within the recommended WHO range.

"With one in five new moms suffering from postpartum depression, we have a real problem on our hands. We have to get back to the basics of safe, normal birth for low-risk moms, in order to fix the problem."

The latest numbers show C-section rates for low-risk mothers in Regina as lower than the national average: 12.6 per cent locally versus 13.9 per cent nationally.

The Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region said it evaluates each birth on what is best for mother and baby, regardless of the method.

Jabs added, "We have adopted guidelines from both our national and international organizations to try and keep caesarian rates low."

Dr. Corrine Jabs is the head of obstetrics and gynecology with the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region. (CBC)

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