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Cesarean Section Is Becoming A Trend

May 18, 2011

Cesarean births have increased during the last thirty years, especially with mothers from the social and economic middle class, according to new research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Public Health.

Researchers from the Medical Research Council/Chief Scientist Office Social and Public Health Sciences Unit (MRC/CSO SPHSU) analyzed data from about 365,000 births in Scotland between the years 1980-81, 1990-91 and 1999-2000.

They focused on the mother’s social class, and the level of deprivation of the area each mother lived in and compared it to patient records describing hospital births and patient records covering details about the pregnancy and delivery.

Researchers compared the Cesarean births with how affluent the area of the address on the birth certificate and the father’s and mother’s profession.

Results found a dramatic social change in the mothers that have the Cesarean surgery.

In 1980-81, women from the most deprived areas were more likely to have elective surgery,  and the numbers still remain significant after adjusting for individual social class.

“Thirty years ago mothers having Caesarean sections were more likely to come from deprived areas and/or from a lower social background,” says Ruth Dundas from the MRC/CSO SPHSU. “This was true for both elective and emergency sections.”

However, in 1990-91, choosing to have a Cesarean and a woman’s personal circumstances had no relationship, with 10% of the surgery carried out in the most affluent families, rising to 20% in 2000, reports the Telegraph.

Aitken says, “Ten years later the rates had changed so that, although women from a lower social background were more likely to have emergency sections, there was no difference between them and women from a higher social background in elective surgery rates.

By 1999-2000 the rates had equalized for emergency section, but babies born by elective surgery were more likely to belong to mothers from the higher of the social classes measured.”

“The disappearance of social trends for emergency Caesarean section reflects increased equality in health care,” Dundas continues.

“However this does not explain the differences seen for elective section or the differences seen between health boards. It is important to ensure that the clinical decision making process is the same for all women, regardless of their background, so that they all have equal chance of the best medical care.”

The Telegraph reports that official NHS figures indicate that a quarter of all expectant mothers are now having the procedure. This is compared to just 11 percent in 1980.

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