Cesareans Recommended Only When Medically Necessary

Study suggests cesarean sections without medical indication raise risk of maternal mortality

TUESDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Cesarean sections should only be performed when there is a medical need, as those done without good reason raise the risk of maternal morbidity and mortality, according to a study published online Jan. 12 in The Lancet.

Pisake Lumbiganon, M.D., of Khon Kaen University in Thailand, and colleagues analyzed data from a World Health Organization global survey of delivery methods and pregnancy outcomes, looking at 109,101 deliveries reported in 122 facilities in nine Asian countries: Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

In all, 29,428 (27.3 percent) of the deliveries were by cesarean section, while 3,465 (3.2 percent) were by operative vaginal delivery. For all types of cesarean section, regardless of whether it was elective or emergency, with or without indication, the risk of maternal mortality or morbidity increased, while cesarean delivery increased the odds of a good outcome for breech presentation delivery, the researchers found.

"Cesarean section should be done only when there is a medical indication to improve the outcome for the mother or the baby," the authors write. "Women and their carers who plan to undertake cesarean section delivery should discuss the potential risks to make an informed decision if they still wish to have a cesarean delivery."

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