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WHO alarmed at rising number of C-sections

According to WHO experts, C-section "can lead to complications and should be conducted only when medically necessary"

MOSCOW, December 13. /TASS/. The World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned about the growing rates of C-section births, the WHO press service told TASS.

"The use of caesarean sections to deliver babies has increased dramatically over the past 20 years and is reaching ‘epidemic’ proportions, according to doctors," the WHO pointed out. "Research shows that while national rates for caesarean sections between 2000 and 2015 remained below 20% of all deliveries in parts of northern Europe, they increased to nearly 50% in several countries in south-eastern Europe."

"Millions of women all over the world may be putting themselves and their babies at unnecessary risk by undergoing non-medically indicated caesarean sections that have virtually nothing to do with evidence-based medicine," the WHO noted, citing Dr Nino Berdzuli, Program Manager of Sexual and Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health at the WHO Regional Office for Europe.

According to WHO experts, C-section "can lead to complications and should be conducted only when medically necessary."

"For mothers, negative consequences for future pregnancies include an increase in spontaneous preterm birth, uterine rupture and abnormal placentation that may result in excessive maternal bleeding and often the need for hysterectomy," the organization said, adding that "for children, caesarean section has been associated with increased risk of admission to neonatal intensive care units, a higher risk of asthma and an increased risk of obesity.

In addition, "overreliance on caesarean sections presents issues for medical education that can lead to lack of training in the clinical skills necessary to manage complications during instrumental delivery, with corresponding concerns over medico-legal issues."

According to Dr Berdzuli, "increased use of caesarean sections also adds an unnecessary financial burden on health systems." "Non-medically needed caesarean sections are not an efficient use of limited health-care resources. There is a need to develop policies that encourage health-care organizations to provide value-based and cost-effective care," she pointed out.