In the business of childbearing, it is true that everyone prefers a normal delivery – one in which a healthy mother gives birth, in a reasonable time, to a healthy, good-size baby, that passes through the vagina, the normal birth canal, without undue injury to mother or baby, following a full-term pregnancy. Indeed, nature ensures that this is the case in more than 80% of instances.

However, there are several occasions where delivery through the normal birth canal is impossible – such as is the case when the baby is too large for the size of the mother’s pelvic girdle through which the baby is expected to pass, or the process too froth with danger as when the afterbirth (placenta) in the mother’s womb lies before the baby and covers the neck of the womb (cervix). Under such conditions as in many others, it becomes ill-advised to allow delivery through the normal birth canal prompting the attending medical team to offer abdominal delivery, popularly known as Caesarean Section as an alternative and safer mode of delivery.

Practised for several decades in all parts of the world, the operation of Caesarean Section, along with the anaesthetic that is given for pain relief, has now been perfected to a point at which it could be said to be quite safe in competent hands, despite the initial fatalities and serious ill-health that followed the pioneering stages.

The fear and apprehension that some mothers, their husbands and relatives entertain when this operation is correctly advised is therefore exaggerated. In the same vein, the taunting and abuses that some women and their kids suffer in connection with this mode of delivery, is unfortunate. Such women are no less biologically competent because they submitted to the operation; the result of their refusal of such well-intentioned medical advice, could have been death or some dreadful complications of childbearing like the vesico vaginal fistula, in which urine drains uncontrollably and continuously from a woman’s vagina after the birth of a baby, which oftentimes, is stillborn..

It is in this context that the value of Mrs. Joyce Emmanuel-Geofrey’s manuscript, Caesarean Section- a curse or a blessing should be situated. Written from a layman’s point of view by a mother with relevant experience, it debunks the myths and taboos and advocates strongly the low risk and safety of the operation. I congratulate the author and recommend the text as an enlightenment for women undergoing the caesarean operation and also as an advocacy document in the current effort aimed at institutionalizing expertly-supervised maternity care, void of recourse to TBAs and prayer homes, as an important way of reducing the number of women who die from childbearing in Nigeria.

However, some editorial work will need to be done on the next edition of the text to reflect more accurate information especially in the areas where efforts were made to define technical procedures.

I have enjoyed browsing through this manuscript which made a relaxed and interesting reading, especially the section on Testimony. I thank the author for asking me to write the Foreword.

Nimi D. Briggs. MD, FRCOG, FAS.

Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

University of Port Harcourt June, 2012