World Health Organization Warns that Many C-Sections Are Unnecessary

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For years now, medical professionals have known that the rate of births by caesarean section continues to rise in middle- and high-income countries, and many C-sections are medically unnecessary.

In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently issued a new statement urging doctors to perform C-sections only on a case-by-case basis rather than trying to meet "target rates."

Many C-sections are needed to protect the health of mothers and babies, but these surgeries can also place patients at risk of medical complications, including infection and long-term injury.

For more than 30 years, WHO has said the "ideal rate" of C-sections is between 10 and 15 per cent. There is no evidence of an improvement in the mortality rate when the C-section rate climbs higher than 10 per cent, according to WHO.

However, in Canada, the rate of births by C-section was 27.8 per cent in 2010 and 26.9 per cent in 2011. These relatively high rates persist despite the fact that the health of mothers and babies could be put at risk.

To be sure, C-section can be a life-saving surgery, and a doctor's failure to anticipate or perform a C-section in a timely manner could have very serious consequences for the mother and the child. That is why WHO has recently emphasized its position of three decades: doctors must focus on the specific needs of the patient and make decisions regarding C-sections on a case-by-case basis.

To learn more about the legal and health ramifications of mistakes during child birth, please see Gluckstein Lawyers' birth injury overview.

REFERENCES: centre/news/releases/2015/caesarean-sections/en/


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