May 1, 2009

C-sections overused in England?

A British study finds that 25 percent of the babies delivered in English hospitals arrive by Caesarean section.

A Caesarean section (surgical delivery) increases the risk for both the mother and the newborn, health officials say.The World Health Organization recommends that no more than 10 to 15 percent of deliveries be C-sections, limiting the operation to cases where it is medically necessary.

The National Health Service reported there were 153,406 C-sections in England, or 24.6 percent of all births. That was a slight increase over 2007.

Under NHS guidelines, doctors are supposed to discuss the risks of C-sections with expectant mothers. The guidelines say that doctors can refuse to perform the surgery if they believe it is not necessary,but must offer women who insist on a C-section a second opinion.

A study of 454 women in Liverpool published in a British journal this month showed that very few desired a C-section.