NCT response: WHO survey on caesarean section

Released on: 20 July 2011

Data from the WHO global survey on maternal and perinatal health(1) shows that risk of maternal death and serious complications is higher for women undergoing caesarean section that is not medically indicated than for those where there is a medical indication.

Concluding, to improve medical outcomes, caesarean section should be done only when there is a medical indication to improve the outcome for the mother or the baby. The survey took data from nine Asian countries: Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Elizabeth Duff, Public Policy Officer, NCT, says:

“This is an interesting study looking at the effect of caesarean sections in Asian countries.
“While health systems in the UK are different, the conclusion that unnecessary surgical operations on pregnant women are associated with high risk of adverse events is likely to be valid in every region.
“When a woman’s pregnancy is normal and there are no medical complications, there is good evidence that a straight-forward birth is safer for the mother and the baby, promoting wellbeing and reducing risks in future pregnancies."