The Rise and Rise of C-Sections

Caesarean section rates are climbing worldwide and will continue to do so, according to new research from the WHO.
 
C-sections now account for more than 1 in 5 childbirths, and will likely reach a third by 2030, according to the study in BMJ Global Health.
 
But distribution varies widely based on access to care.
 
In sub-Saharan Africa, just 5% of women gave birth by C-section, indicating an unmet need for the procedure—compared to 43% in Latin America and the Caribbean.
 
While they can be a lifesaving alternative to vaginal deliveries—such as in cases of obstructed labor or fetal distress—increasingly they are carried out for nonmedical reasons, posing risks to mothers and their babies.
 
How to reduce medically unnecessary C-sections? The WHO recommends several nonclinical actions, including audits on the practice and requiring second opinions.

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