Rising Caesarean rates in UK

9th January 2018


Caesarean section rates are rising in the UK


Maternity figures show the numbers of both elected and emergency Caesarean sections have gone up despite a fall in the overall number of births. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said the figures reflect an increase in "complex births", with obesity and age the main reasons and The Royal College of Midwives said the rise in Caesareans was "a worry".


More than a quarter of all babies born in England are now delivered that way.

There were 73,551 elective (planned) - C-sections on the NHS in 2015-16, which was about 6,750 more than in 2011-12. There was also a small rise in the number of emergency Caesarean births - up from 97,054 in 2011-12 to 99,403 in 2015-16.

A study by the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries found about 40,000 maternities each year in the UK involve women who are clinically obese.

Dr Pat O'Brien, a consultant obstetrician and spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: "In recent years, there has been a higher number of complex births due to obesity and these are both associated with a number of complications, including a greater risk of a more complicated labour."

A spokesman for the Royal College of Midwives said: "The continued rise in Caesarean sections is a worry. “Whilst some are needed for medical reasons we need to know why the rate is increasing, and take steps to address this. "This issue is also linked to the rising numbers of overweight and obese pregnant women and I remain concerned about the increase in these numbers.

"These women are more likely to have a Caesarean section, and may also need additional support and care because of the potential complications that can occur in pregnancy for these women."

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