The problem of excruciating delivery pain experienced by women during childbirth seems to have found an answer in birthing chairs, now popular in the west.
A private hospital in Kolkata is all set to introduce birthing chairs for would-be-mothers to reduce the painful process to some extent.
"Birthing chair helps women deliver much easily in shorter time. We will soon have one such chair in our hospital to begin with," Kamal K. Dutta, diplomate of American Board of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and chairman and managing director of Ruby General Hospital, said.
In India, delivery takes place in lying posture. But he said: "During earlier days, around 100 years back, people used to give birth in sitting postures. They used to sit and push and the gravity helped the baby come out. Let us help the mother to deliver."
Describing the utility of the chair, being introduced for the first time in eastern India, he said it is more comfortable and hoped women here would slowly start accepting this new technique.
"At first we will import one chair from the US. And display it in the maternity unit and show it to the pregnant women and make them aware of its utility," Dutta, a non-resident Indian, said.
Each chair costs around $20,000.
"In the first stage the mother is lying on the bed, then she has the urge to push the baby out and the whole process becomes convenient in sitting posture. It is difficult to do this while lying on the bed," he said.
Dutta laid stress on increasing the number of normal delivery in India compared to caesarean.
"We are keen to increase the number of normal deliveries in India. Normal deliveries are safer and reduce the chances of infection and bleeding after delivery," he said.
In the US, 70 percent of deliveries are done on the birthing chair.
To increase awareness among people, Dutta is planning to start pre-natal classes to educate pregnant women. "We will show them the video of normal and caesarean delivery, the birthing chair and let them decide which one they want to opt for."
In his bid to popularise normal delivery, he said: "We will guarantee that there will be no pain. We will use epidural anaesthesia to continuously decrease the labour pain."
Epidural anaesthesia is a local anaesthesia to reduce to pain.
Dutta, who left India in 1976 for the US, practises at New Jersey and is a Fellow of American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, says he wants to break the 'myth of pregnancy'.
"Here people are scared of the pain, that's why they opt for caesarean delivery. Let's see whether we can break the myth," he said.
Leelavathi Hospital in Mumbai already has a birthing chair.
Noted gynaecologist S Dawn expressed happiness at the birthing chair becoming available in eastern India, but said the cost could be prohibitive.
"This is a good drive that someone is bringing the chair into this region. It will give some comfort to the patients. But one should have proper infrastructure and this is an expensive way," said Dawn, also secretary general of Narchi - an NGO of doctors.