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High Cesarean Section Rates

Updated on August 23, 2010

Definitely, as we have heard several mothers have said that they would “prefer a caesarean section rather than a natural childbirth”. Usually, it is not only a fear of pain that lies behind such a statement, but also ignorance. They must understand that caesarean section is a surgery and like every other surgery, it carries certain types of risks. In addition, the recovery of mother who have had undergone cesarean section delivery is slower than that of a mother giving birth to a baby naturally. Cesarean delivery also carries an increased risk of infection, so the advantages are only apparent. One in five children around the world are born via cesarean section according to World Health Organization’s report. WHO has also completed its third research project on intrapartum care in the world centered in Asia and found out that women from India, Japan, China, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Vietnam have had undergone a very large number of cesarean sections sometimes when they are not necessary. One of the possible reasons to explain the high caesarean section rates could be financial incentives for employees which approximately 62% of hospitals included in the report offer their workers to practice this intervention.

Also, according to the WHO report, the possibilities of entering the ICU were ten times higher for women undergoing planned cesarean sections and sixty seven times higher if it was practiced during delivery and there were no medical reasons to do it. In interviews held with clinicians, they agree that the rates of cesarean sections are increasing at a tremendous pace due to a lot of women opting for planned cesarean sections. Women themselves and media have been made responsible for these increasing rates. Since 1965, WHO has been recommending clinicians all over the world to reduce these rates noting that “we can conclude that women who choose to have a caesarean section and the doctors who recommend this surgery in the absence of a valid medical reason to justify it should make this important decision with the knowledge of its risks”.

C-section surgery
C-section surgery

Now let us understand in what types of cases cesarean delivery is recommended, what are the precautions of C-sections, and how many days of hospital stay is necessary for this medical procedure.

What are the medical reasons for Cesarean Section?

There are several reasons why a cesarean section may be the best way to have a baby and they are:

  1. Umbilical cord prolapse.
  2. Urinary or vaginal infection.
  3. Lack of cervical dilation.
  4. Fetus too large to pass via the mother's pelvis.
  5. Acute fetal distress.
  6. Rupture of the umbilical cord.
  7. Placental abruption or placenta previa.
  8. Unusual presentation of the fetus.
  9. Medical problems of pregnant women including but not limited to certain chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and active genital herpes at or before delivery, etc.
  10. Two or more previous cesareans.

What precautions a pregnant woman need to take at the time of entering the operating room?

Usually, gynecologists recommend a pregnant woman to not eat solid foods 6 hours before surgery but she can drink juice or water.

How many days of hospitalization is recommended for cesarean section delivery?

If all goes well, a minimum of three days hospitalization is recommended for cesarean delivery. In some cases, hospital stay needs to be extended. Usually, a mother gets fully recovered in 15 to 20 days from the date of delivery.

If a woman has undergone cesarean section at the birth of first baby, do doctors need to again perform a cesarean delivery in the second pregnancy?

After undergoing a caesarean section in first pregnancy, you can try natural birth at the second, but if you have had 2 or more C-sections, a vaginal birth is not at all recommended.


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      Mummytobe 5 years ago

      I absolutely agree that Dr Sheila Mehra is just awesome. For 9 months I had been to Dr. Sujata Bhatt at Kailash hospital and a week prior to my due date she declared that I will never have any labour pain and I will have to go for C-Sec. I was depressed when I went to Dr. Mehra and she assured me a normal delivery..and I had a normal delivery! Many doctors these days force patients to go for c-secs by scaring them with vague risks that actually don't exist... Dr. Mehra is not like the rest, she is awesome.

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      @MummyMc0, thanks a lot for sharing your views on C-Sections.

    • MummyMc0 profile image

      MummyMc0 7 years ago

      It annoys me when I hear 'natural delivery' Moms joke about having a c section. I have had 3 and all were necessary but all were also classed as 'elective'. It is this classification that gives c-section Moms a bad name. Most of us don't choose to have a c section, we choose for our babies to be alive and healthy!

      I would have given my right arm for a 'normal' delivery complete with a normal recovery time - but it wasn't to be. Thanks for this page. It really does bring home the severity of what C section Moms and their bodies have to cope with.

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks a lot Veronica and Davinagirl3 for sharing your personal experience about getting C-section. Your advice combined by my advice will guide women to not opt for C-section if and when it is not totally required.

      Dr. Sheila Mehra from Moolchand Hospital in New Delhi recommends her patients to try normal delivery at all times and this is the reason why women enjoy normal delivery under her care. Also, Gold Medalist gynecologist Dr. Sheila Mehra's team is well experienced in doing normal deliveries. They opt for cesarean section only and when it is required. My daughter, Shronika, took natural birth under the care of Dr. Mehra and if and when we will plan about next baby, we will consult her first. She is one of the doctors in New Delhi who does not believe in making money but providing utmost care to her patients and this is the reason why she has a long que of patients waiting in her personal clinic and also in hospital to get a normal delivery instead of painful cesarean sections.

    • Davinagirl3 profile image

      Davinagirl3 7 years ago

      I had to undergo a cesarian section with my daughter. She was two weeks late and would not respond to induction. After the c-section, I was told that she would not have been able to fit through my pelvis. If the c-section had not been an option, my daughter or myself, would not have made it.

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 7 years ago from Georgia

      I think that this information is so important for women who may not realize the huge risks of cesaren births. I had two myself, the first was not planned, but the second one was due to the fact that I had a previous C-section and it was deemed safer to go this route than try for a more natural delivery.

      Whatever a woman's decision, the risks need to be weighed. Like you pointed out Soni, it is considered major surgery. Even the recovery time is just as serious as the surgery itself.