Obstetricians say about the "epidemic" of caesarean sections

C-section births rise rapidly to more than 20 percent worldwide

C-section births rise rapidly to more than 20 percent worldwide

Evidently, between the year 2000 and 2015, the rate of c-section births increased from 12 percent to 21 percent, with those in richer countries overusing it and those in poorer countries continue to have little access to a possibly life-saving procedure.

They said millions of women each year may be putting themselves and their babies at unnecessary risk by undergoing C-sections at rates "that have virtually nothing to do with evidence-based medicine".

"The large increases in C-section use - mostly in richer settings for non-medical purposes - are concerning because of the associated risks for women and children". This was up from 16 million in 2000, or 12 per cent of all births, according to research published in The Lancet.

It is estimated that about 10 to 15 percent of births require c-section due to various complications such as hypertension, bleeding, fetal distress, problems with the placenta, problems with the umbilical cord, or when the baby is at an abnormal position. The procedure is most prevalent in middle- and high-income areas, the findings show: The lowest C-section rate is in New Mexico, at 17.9 percent, and the highest is in New Jersey, at 33.1 percent. C-section use has remained low in sub-Saharan Africa, however.

Low- and middle-income countries saw the greatest disparity the use of C-sections, where wealthy women were six times more likely to have one than the poorest of those populations.

'We would not expect such differences between countries, between women by socioeconomic status or between provinces/states within countries based on obstetric need, ' Ties Boerma, professor of public health at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, and a lead author on the study, said. But 60% of the 169 countries reviewed in the research are above this range, while a quarter of the states are below it, putting mothers and children at risk, according to the study based on the data gathered by World Health Organization and UNICEF.

She adds that financial incentives exist for both doctor and hospital with the certainty of planned day-time deliveries, especially in private practices.

The researchers also warned that in many settings young physicians are becoming experts in C-section, while losing confidence in their abilities to assist in vaginal birth.

For example, in China, C-section rates ranged from 4 percent to 62 percent, while in India the range was 7 to 49 percent.

Researchers said 60 per cent of countries were overusing the procedure and 25 per cent underusing it, suggesting wide disparities in how the clinical recommendations are being followed.

"In cases where complications do occur, C-sections save lives", Temmerman said, "and we must increase accessibility in poorer regions, making C-sections universally available".

In 15 countries, more than 40% of births happen through this procedure.

C-section is a type of major surgery, which carries risks that require careful consideration.

Gynecologists are concerned about the surge of C-section births around the world. Birth parents face perils such as post-surgical infections, abnormal bleeding and womb scarring that can interfere with future pregnancies.

They said it is important to note there are small but serious risks with C-sections, and that each of these risks increases the more times a woman has the procedure. In addition, say the researchers, fear of labor may be fueling patients' requests for C-sections.

In a comment accompanying the study, Gerard Visser of the University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, called the rise in C-sections 'alarming'.

"The medical profession on its own can not reverse this trend", he said.

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