From the blog of Dr. Amy Tuteur:
"Critics of the current C-section rate often quote the World Health Organization recommendation of an ideal C-section rate of 10-15%. Unfortunately, the WHO appears to have pulled those numbers out of thin air. . . The data show that low maternal mortality and low neonatal mortality are associated almost exclusively with high and very high C-section rates. . . The data themselves are quite clear. There are only 2 countries in the world that have C-section rates of less than 15% AND low rates of maternal and neonatal mortality. Those countries are Croatia (14%) and Kuwait (12%). Neither country is noted for the accuracy of its health statistics. In contrast, EVERY other country in the world with a C-section rate of less than 15% has higher than acceptable levels of maternal and neonatal mortality. There nothing ambiguous about that. . . The average C-section rate for countries with low maternal and neonatal mortality is 22%, although rates as high as 36% are consistent with low rates of maternal and neonatal mortality."
I've been thinking quite a lot about the reasons why anti-tampons propaganda, home births and forcing yourself to breastfeed even when it's very painful have become so popular. I think these are the echoes of the old patriarchal idea that being a woman should be painful (remember Adam and Eve? A woman is evil, therefore, she needs to suffer.) The only areas where women are different from men (menstruation, giving birth, breastfeeding) need to be made as painful as possible. Somehow, you are not a "real woman" unless you've gone through a lot of physical suffering during these moments of your life.