Sylvia Leveridge would like to have an elective cesarean for the birth of her child.
Sylvia Leveridge would like to have an elective cesarean for the birth of her child. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Hospital says No to cesarean

A NORTH Coast mum who has been told she can't deliver her baby by cesarean feels Lismore Base Hospital is prioritising policy over people.

Sylvia Leveridge, 38, said she was told by an obstetrician at the hospital she could only have a C-section (cesarean section operation) in an emergency.

"I just had tears streaming down my face - I couldn't believe it," Ms Leveridge said.

"I feel so powerless and betrayed by the medical system that my choice has been taken away."

Ms Leveridge, who is 28 weeks pregnant, wants to avoid the 20-hour labour she experienced before undergoing an emergency cesarean to deliver her first child.

Her first baby was a whopping 4.240kg and Ms Leveridge understands this baby will be just as big.

"Chances are I will be having a C-section again but it will just be as traumatic as it was the last time," Ms Leveridge said.

Around one in three NSW women will give birth by cesarean section operation.

But under the Towards Normal Birth policy, the state is aiming to reduce the cesarean rate to 20% before 2015.

Ms Leveridge said she was advised the hospital has to reduce the number of cesareans it performs in line with the policy.

Northern NSW Local Health District general manager Vahid Saberi said there are risks associated with cesarean section operations, as for all surgery.

"In each of our hospitals, decisions are made on a case-by-case basis as to the method of birth - it is a decision made by the clinician in consultation with the woman taking into consideration her clinical requirements," Dr Saberi said.

Lismore pediatrician Dr Chris Ingall said the rights of the both babies and mothers have to be balanced out.

"It's not just the mum's choice. It's also the baby's choice as to how the delivery transpires. This is something that is often lost in the debate about how babies should be delivered," Dr Ingall said.

But Ms Leveridge said she wants to be treated as "more than a number" and to be told her rights as a mother.

"My problem is I have big babies and I just feel like I'm on the same treadmill," Ms Leveridge said.



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