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Quarter of babies born by Caesarean

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Around a quarter of babies born in England are delivered by Caesarean section, the latest figures have shown.

The number is around double that recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), despite numerous calls for the it to be cut down.

The rate of Caesarean births has been increasing over the last 25 years, and the Royal College of Midwives with the WHO that the current figure is too high.

The chances of needing a hysterectomy are more than tripled after giving birth by Caesarean section. The operation is also linked to higher risks for the mother and baby, including increased risk of death, blood clots and infant breathing problems.

The WHO recommends the Caesarean section rate should be no higher than 10% to 15%.

The England Caesarean rate has shown no change in a year, with the rate for 2007/08 remaining at 24.6%.

The report, from The NHS Information Centre, also showed wide variations between health trusts.

Babies born at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust are more than twice as likely to be delivered by Caesarean as those born in Sherwood Hospital in Nottingham.

Chelsea had the highest rate in the country, at 33.3% of their 5,2303 deliveries.

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had the lowest rate, with 15.8% of their 2,9483 deliveries being Caesareans.

Chelsea also has the highest percentage of elective Caesareans - where the operation is planned rather than occurring in an emergency - at 15.8%.

This is almost three times the rate at Peterborough and Stamford NHS Foundation Trust, where 5.6% of deliveries are by elective Caesarean.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Having just had a baby no 3, I had to fight with an inexperienced SHO to give birth naturally. Fortunately I wasn't phased by her medical jargon or risk promoting conversation. I stayed focus and firm and knew what was best for me and my baby along with a like minded midwife. This was so different to when I was a lay peron, having had no medical experience I took what the dr's said and ended up with in my opinion an uneccessary c-section. Failure to progress, I did not keep to the so- called 1 cm an hour. I did not this time either but my babay came when he was ready and I was too, perfectly healthy. Maternity services need to review their practices and how it seems to be dominated by practices that goes against the natuaral process of labour like breaking waters!

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