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The high rate of cesarean births globally due to hereditary narrow pelvis genes

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A new research conducted by Austrian scientists and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that rate of cesarean sections globally have increased due to hereditary narrow pelvis genes from mother to daughter.

"Women with a very narrow pelvis would not have survived birth 100 years ago. But they do now thanks to modern medicine and pass on their genes encoding for a narrow pelvis to their daughters," said Dr Philipp Mitteroecker, of the department of theoretical biology at the University of Vienna, in an interview with BBC.

“Before, these genes would not have been passed from mother to child as both would have died in labour but due to medical intervention the rate of surgical births has increased from 30 in 1000 in the 1960s to 36 in 1000 births today.”

In Kenya for example, the rate of cesarean deliveries (c-sections) in the urban areas is 2.69 per cent; this is according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report and beyond narrow pelvis women who choose this type of birth sometimes do so due to fear of pain experienced during natural child birth.

“I had decided to go for a natural child birth from the minute I learnt that I was pregnant,” said Immaculate Gichuru, the mother of a three month baby. “Even the stories I heard from my friends about the pain experienced or the procedures involved did not scare me, then came the day of delivery.

“I was in labour for three hours already; the pain I experienced convinced me that I could not go through it. The doctor told I was not ready as my contractions were still far apart and I could not imagine labouring for another hour so I opted for a c-section.”

Other than narrow pelvis or fear of natural birth pain, the doctor also determines the type of birth the mother is to undergo based on her health and the child’s. “At the 36th week of pregnancy, depending on the baby’s and mother’s condition, the doctor makes a decision on whether she will give birth naturally or through a cesarean” said Dr. J Wainyoike Gichuhi, a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist.

“The position of the baby in the womb and the blood level of the mother, among other factors are some of the conditions are considered before determining the type of birth. It is advised to go through a caesarean birth if the child or mother’s lives are in danger but if the mother and baby are healthy, a natural birth is the best option.”

However for women who decide that a surgical birth is best, midwife, Lucy Muchiri advises on making an appointment in a private hospital instead of a public one.

“It is a major surgery, in private hospitals, they have the capacity to handle a cesarean birth in terms of surgical tools, staff on hand and operating rooms among other things compared to government hospitals where there is may be limited equipment. But keep in mind that private hospitals are also more expensive.”

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