WHO: C-Sections Should Be Performed Only When Medically Indicated

WHO C-section Study

The World Health Organisation issued a statement last week: “… that Caesarean sections can reduce maternal and neonatal mortality, but only when they are medically indicated.”

Duh, no kidding.

This is on the back of a previous recommendation dating back to 1985 that “Caesarean section rates of 10-15% are considered ‘ideal’ by international health experts”.

The current conclusion comes as a result of WHO’s review of:

  • Available studies that had sought to find the ideal Caesarean rate within a given country or population;
  • Worldwide country-level analysis using the latest available data.

They further recommend:

  • A C-section rate exceeding 10% DOES NOT reduce maternal or infant mortality;
  • The decision for C-section should be based on the mother’s/ baby’s need (not to achieve a specific rate);
  • C-sections can result in significant/ permanent complications, disability or death.

Check out the WHO Executive Summary and WHO News Release.

NB: in case you’re wondering what the C-section rate is in YOUR country (eg. for my dear blog readers from today… % C-section rate):

  • Australia 30.3%
  • USA 30.3%
  • UK 22.0%
  • Ireland 26.2%
  • Canada 26.3%
  • France 18.8%
  • Egypt 27.6%

… All well above the recommended 10%.

If your country isn’t listed above, please check at the “WHO Global Report:┬áThe Global Numbers and Costs of Additionally Needed and Unnecessary Caesarean Sections Performed per Year“.


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  1. Hi

    I really value your factual approach to some of these topics and was wondering if you knew the facts about how long after a c-sect till it’s considered safe to get pregnant again. All the info I can find online contradicts each other, as does the advice from the OBs and GPs I’ve asked. It all seems to be based on opinion more than fact, or no evidence is provided. I had an emergency c-sect and considering we almost lost bub or I, I’m pretty confident I’m not going to go for a VBAC.

    Even the suggestion of a reliable website would be super handy.

    Thanks again for your great blog.

  2. Pingback: Cochrane: Midwife-led care offers better outcomes for most pregnancies | Push Ups, Pull Ups & Pregnancy

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