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Friday, 26 October, 2001, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
'Why I chose a Caesarean'
Sharon Leifer with baby Joel
Sharon Leifer with baby Joel
More than 20% of births are by Caesarean section, a major national audit has shown.

Here, Sharon Leifer tells BBC News Online why she planned to have her third child by Caesarean.

Sharon Leifer made the decision to have an elective Caesarean with her third baby after difficult experiences of natural births with her first two children.

"With the first, I was in labour for 34 hours. I had an emergency delivery - my son showed signs of distress , which is really frightening," she said.

Her son Eben, now five, was delivered by forceps.

But she then had to have an operation anyway because of complications with the placenta.

Having a Caesarean is not an easy option

Sharon Leifer
When she was having her second child, Sharon had endured 16-hours of labour, when her baby again showed signs of distress.

Her daughter Zoe, now 3, was delivered by emergency Caesarean.

When she became pregnant for the third time, she decided to choose an elective Caesarean.

"By the third time, I felt I didn't want to try again.

"Each of the previous children had been in a posterior position [where the back of the baby's head towards the mother's spine], which means a far more difficult and a longer labour.

"This one was in a posterior position too."

'Cut to the chase'

Although Sharon, 37 of north London, had an elective Caesarean booked, she had to rethink her plans when her waters broke four days before the planned operation.

She was taken into hospital and given the choice of attempting natural labour or having an emergency Caesarean.

"It was my decision. But the baby was in the posterior position and I knew the baby was a good size, and there were chances of complications.

"I decided to cut to the chase".

From my experience, I think natural labour is best

Sharon Leifer
She had a spinal epidural during the procedure, but says she was in a great deal of discomfort afterwards.

Three weeks after the birth of her son Joel, she says: "Having a Caesarean is not an easy option.

"It hurts like hell, and takes a long time to recover from.

"I couldn't manage on my own at all for the first week or so.

"And I can't lift my other children. They still want to be picked up and cuddled."

After having both natural labour and Caesareans, she says: "From my experience, I think natural labour is best, even though mine were long and hard because you recover so much quicker."

But she added Caesareans could be the best option if there were likely to be problems: "If you're going to face complications, I would rather they were for me, and the baby was safe."

See also:

26 Oct 01 | Health
Huge rise in Caesarean births
21 May 01 | Health
Caesarean rate 'should be cut'
13 Apr 01 | Health
Caesarean rate riddle
09 Aug 00 | Health
Big rise in Caesarean births
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