I don’t know whether to cheer or cry at this one.
Bollywood star and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai gave birth to a healthy baby girl last week. Her “feat” of doing so vaginally created an immediate sensation across India, proving, as the Times of India put it:
“One is never too posh to push or too old for a natural delivery.”
Never mind that Ms. Rai just turned 38 this month. It actually is remarkable that she chose vaginal birth in a country where the cesarean rate for women over 35 is around 60%, and that cesarean rates of 80% and more are common for women of all ages in many private hospitals.
In the same article the Times gives this straight-outta-the-19th-century rationale for why so many modern Indian women choose a cesarean:
“Studies have shown that today’s woman with her low threshold for pain is more likely than her mother to opt for a C-section.”
The Times goes on to describe an “Aishwarya Rai Effect”–many more young women are expected to choose vaginal birth as a result of her choice.
Now if we could just line up some “posh” American celebrities to “push” for vaginal birth, we might counteract the “Britney Spears Effect” and put a dent in our own cesarean rate.
Too bad Justin Bieber‘s not a woman…