n Obstetrics and Gynaecology Forum - Caesarean section deliveries - are we doing too many or too few? Opinion : review




The rate of caesarean deliveries (the new term for caesarean sections) has risen worldwide over the past years, and the South African numbers reflect this phenomenon. Accurate rates are difficult to quantify, but the incidence of caesarean deliveries (CD) varies from less than 1% in some parts of Africa, to over 50% in China. In South Africa the rate is variable from about 21% in the state sector, to around 80% in the private sector. This mirrors the CD percentage in the UK private sector. Whilst the WHO suggested a 15% caesarean rate in 1985, this figure is unrealistic for the reasons mentioned in the paper. The article outlines the reasons for the rapidly increasing rate of CDs in South Africa. It is impossible to contemplate a "correct" rate of operative deliveries, as the percentage depends on patient's circumstances. However what is important, is that every woman who needs and deserves a CD, gets one.


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