Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: Story on childbirth experience shows the need for women-centric healthcare

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Birth question

Krutika and Gautam should never have been subjected to the trauma of going from pillar to post seeking natural child birth (“To avoid a C-section at the end of my pregnancy, I went from hospital to hospital”). The goal posts for natural delivery seem to have changed considerably since my time. When my first child was born more than 40 years ago, my doctor went late to a family wedding because I was in labour. C-sections were the last resort, done only if the lives of mother and baby were endangered. We seem to be fast becoming an automated society lacking in empathy and going against all natural norms.

Kudos to Krutika and Gautam for sticking to their values, and I am glad Nature played her role in ensuring that they were rewarded for their patience. We need more youngsters like them. Krutika’s piece is straight from the heart. I hope it will tug at some doctor’s heart strings, enough to make a difference. All the best to Anaka and her parents. – Elizabeth Koshy


Congratulations to Krutika on becoming a mother. She has written about her experience lucidly and every point she raised resonated with me. I’m so proud of her for sticking to her guns, staying strong, making an informed choice and maintaining autonomy over her own body. The petition she refers to in her article was started by me, as a first step towards improving maternal health system of our country. We really need to ensure that the care being given is woman-centric, where neither our rights nor our health is compromised. We have a long way to go so we have to ensure conversations are not silenced and every woman’s experience is heard so that policy makers and caregivers can serve us better. The petition aims at transparency, accountability, information and I truly hope we can get this done. – Subarna Ghosh


I am glad Krutika and her husband persevered. We have three children all natural or semi-natural births. All the best to them and I thank them for sharing their experience. – Salim Ahmed


Thank you for this wonderful article. It is informative and useful. We are going through a similar situation and no doctor in Kolkata is willing to do a normal delivery.We have already changed four doctors. Even big hospitals are looting patients in this manner. We still hope that with god’s grace, we can have a natural delivery. I really appreciate the author’s endeavour to spread this information. – Gaurav Upadhyay


Don’t you think that for natural births and associated risks to the baby, parents should stand with doctors, and medical professionals should have the right and to work without fear of assault or lawsuits? Why do patients also insist that the doctor who has been treating them all along carry out the delivery? The doctor may have a personal emergency, or other patients to tend to at the same time. We often come across cases where there is a severe medical reason for which a C-section is necessary. But this leads to allegations that we are doing it for the money. Labour and childbirth are dynamic and unpredictable and one can trust that the doctor knows best. A few doctors may be greedy, unethical and manipulative but a majority believe in serving people. – Surupa Ranjan


The author mentions increase in C-section rates, but does not talk about the fact that maternal mortality and neonatal mortality rates have significantly fallen over the years. The doctors just wanted to ensure the author gives birth to a healthy baby.

In this field, anything can go wrong at anytime and when they do, two lives are at stakes. Believe in doctors and do not insult them. Such an article can also cause fear and panic among others. Leave treatment and diagnosis to those who have studied it. – Mallika Theogarajan


I faced a similar situation, when I was expecting my second child. My first delivery was an emergency C-section. For my second child, I had to change nearly five doctors and none supported the idea of option for a vaginal birth after a C-section. But I strongly felt my body could do it. I finally found a doctor who agreed but she said she can attempt a normal delivery only if I go into labour naturally. There were some minor complications, but after a 16-hour labour, I delivered my baby naturally. It was a proud moment and I recovered much faster than I did after my C-section. Through this letter, I want to pass on the message if you have had a healthy pregnancy with no complications, you can surely avoid a major surgery and opt for a natural birth if you prefer to. – Shabitha Clera DSouza


This was indeed a nice to piece to read. At the same time, I was left wondering about the thousands of women who opt for C-section in mostly urban India and another thousands of rural women who mostly go for natural birth. Childbirth in India mostly works on the fear factor. I have been looking at the the natural birth and rights-based perspective of childbirth.

On the one hand, the government and international donor agencies put pressure on women to go C-sections to ensure safe delivery and on another hand, we try to avoid talking about the rich heritage of midwifes who have been assisting countless deliveries in rural as well as urban India. I too had a natural childbirth at home with my family along with a Dai in a metropolitan city, but I still have to hear about how I took a risk. Many do not know the risks that they take when they opt for hospitals.

I hope in future we get to read more articles where women could exercise their rights over their bodies, especially when they are most vulnerable. – Shalini Arvindan


I would like to congratulate the author on the birth of her daughter. I found this story very heartening. I salute the author and her husband’s courage to have a natural delivery despite all the odds. – Manish Lalwani


I am deeply moved by the author’s experience and empathise with the struggle they had to undergo to bring their child into this world. My wife and I are also late parents and went through many fears and apprehensions before the delivery.

However, because of my wife’s age at the time, we had reconciled to the fact that we would have to opt for a caesarian. But she went into early labour and she also started crowning early. We had to have a natural delivery but it was perfectly safe! We were overjoyed and the guy was absolutely fine. Thank you for inspiring other mothers who want a natural delivery. –Sanjay Anthony


I have been married for two years and have a beautiful baby daughter. I was compelled to undergo a C-section at the last minute. I am very healthy and had the right weight during pregnancy. Through the nine months, by gynaecologist was sure I would have a natural pregnancy. But when I had contractions and visited her clinic, she asked me to wait for a few hours because the baby was not yet in the pelvis. I was having frequent contractions and was in a lot of pain, but she said we could not begin the delivery process yet. She then asked my husband to sign some papers and arranged a team to perform the C-section. I was firm on my decision to carry on with a natural birth, but the doctor scared us and said that our baby’s life will be in danger if we do not opt for surgery. I had to agree eventually. Please choose a wise doctor who will love the patient and not their pocket. – Ekta G


I fully respect the writer’s experience, but not her interpretation. The reason for higher C-section sates is because of extremely has nothing to do with profiteering intentions. This was the writer’s first experience with child birth but doctors have dealt with numerous such cases and is in a position to know what is a safer option. Also, there is a lot of pressure on the doctors who are shamed and threatened by families if things go wrong. There are cases of attacks too. So, doctors have become defensive and choose to err on the side of caution. – Bharat


The story accurately describes the situation today. As a 67 year old, I urge all young mothers to opt for natural deliveries as far as possible. The healing process is much faster than a C-section. – Anjali Mayaskar

Tipu Sultan’s legacy

While most of the narrative gets lost these days on Right-Wing versus secular, let me try to present the version of a modern- day logical Hindu (“Tipu Jayanti: BJP wants to correct history’s wrongs. It should start with caste oppression”). I think Ajaz Ashraf is not being completely objective as he just mentions Tipu Sultan as having fought against the Britishers. I don’t think a man like him is ignorant about Tipu’s brutal exploits in Coorg and the surrounding region. I think this is selective ignorance. He very cleverly diverted the attention to a different social issue. But this is like convincing this younger Jewish generation that Hitler fought the tyranny of British and hiding the Holocaust. The point is simple and clear. Aurangzeb and Tipu were oppressors. You can’t expect us to sympathise with you if you glorify them. For a change, glorify people like Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and APJ Abdul Kalam. – Srijan Singh

Cleaning up India

The NDA will not follow the advice here (“In a post-Panama-and-Paradise world, what can India do to bring back illicit money stashed abroad?”). The people who the Panama and Paradise Papers implicate are those who have stashed black money abroad. The NDA is more concerned in implicating the Gandhis. – Arun Sharma

Abortion rights

This is a most laudable scheme (“Government doctors are being trained to help women in India get safe and legal abortions”). Openly disseminating medical and legal information on abortion removes the stigma and improves access to facilities to women. Particularly praiseworthy is the recommendation to train non-allopathic doctors and mid-level healthcare professionals also in performing abortions.

However, being a doctor and member of the Reproductive Rights Advocacy Alliance Malaysia, I’m puzzled at the adoption of the laminaria tent to dilate the cervix before suction currettage when misoprostol is cheaper and faster and the dilated cervix offers virtually no resistance to dilatation before the suction canula is applied. It has also been approved by the WHO and Ipas. – SP Choong

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