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Number of Caesarean Births Set to Increase-WHO

The rise in the number of C-sections is a concern to doctors. They say that while a caesarean birth can be an essential and life-saving surgery, it can put women and babies at unnecessary risk of short-and long-term health problems if performed when there is no medical need.
The number of C-sections in the world is estimated to increase, as more mothers opt for caesarean births as opposed to natural virginal birth,  according to a report released by the World Health Organisation.

The findings of the study, 'Trends and projections of caesarean section rates which were published in the medic journal BMJ Global Health shows that the C-section rates have risen from 7 per cent in 1990 to 21 per cent today. Yet, according to WHO, the numbers are likely to grow, even more, to one out of every three births globally by 2030.

The rise in the number of C-sections is a concern to doctors. They say that while a caesarean birth can be an essential and life-saving surgery, it can put women and babies at unnecessary risk of short-and long-term health problems if performed when there is no medical need.

Dr Ian Askew, the Director of WHO’s Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research says that currently many C-sections carried out are not medically needed.

“Caesarean sections are absolutely critical to saving lives in situations where vaginal deliveries would pose risks, so all health systems must ensure timely access for all women when needed. But not all the caesarean sections carried out at the moment are needed for medical reasons. Unnecessary surgical procedures can be harmful, both for a woman and her baby,” he said.

According to the 2019/2020 Uganda Annual Health Sector Performance Report, a total of 45,806 C- sections were carried out. That year, traditional hospitals such as Nsambya and Mengo hospital had the highest C-section rates at 51 and 47 per cent respectively. Previously, most C-sections were carried out in private facilities.

Dr Evelyn Nabunya, the Executive Director of the Mulago Women and Neonatal Specialised hospital says more work needs to be done to determine why women get C-sections.

"Many women in society decided to get C-sections for different reasons and I think that these reasons need to be investigated. We need more research on why women decide to this," she said.

Caesarean sections can be essential in situations such as prolonged or obstructed labour, fetal distress, or because the baby is presenting in an abnormal position. However, as with all surgeries, they can have risks. These include the potential for heavy bleeding or infection, slower recovery times after childbirth, delays in establishing breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact, and increased likelihood of complications in future pregnancies.


In children, emerging research shows that C-Sections can affect the hormonal, physical, bacterial, and medical exposures and that these exposures can subtly alter neonatal physiology. It can also alter immune development, lead to an increased likelihood of allergy, and asthma, among others.

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