WHO survey: Half of China's births are C-sections
Monday, January 18, 2010
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) -- Nearly half of all births in China are delivered by Caesarean section, the world's highest rate, according to a survey by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It's a shift toward modernisation that isn't necessarily a good thing.
The boom in unnecessary surgeries is jeopardising women's health, the United Nations(UN) health agency warned in the report published online Tuesday in the medical journal The Lancet.
Unnecessary C-sections are costlier than natural births and raise the risk of complications for the mother, said the report surveying nine Asian nations. It noted C-sections have reached "epidemic proportions" in many countries worldwide.
The most dramatic findings were in China, where 46 per cent of births reviewed were C-sections -- a quarter of them not medically necessary, the report said.
"So many pregnant women ask for a Caesarean birth in China, but we always suggest that they have a natural birth," said Dr He Yuanhua, at Capital Antai Obstetrics and Gynaecology Hospital in Beijing, who did not participate in the study.
"It's bad to have so many Caesarean births because natural birth is the ideal way."
The WHO, which reviewed nearly 110,000 births across Asia in 2007-2008, found 27 per cent were done under the knife, partially motivated by hospitals eager to make more money.
That mirrors similar results reported by WHO in 2005 from Latin American countries.
Women undergoing C-sections that are not medically necessary are more likely to die, the WHO study found…