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doi: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e318068646a
PERINATAL: Commentary

Health Consequences of the Increasing Caesarean Section Rates

Belizán, José M.*; Althabe, Fernando*; Cafferata, María Luisa†

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Caesarean section (C-section) rates are rising in many middle- and high-income countries, with the justification that higher rates of C-section are associated with better outcomes. A review of 79 studies comparing outcomes of elective caesarean sections with vaginal deliveries, including both observational studies and randomized trials, suggests that caesarean sections may have substantially greater risks than vaginal deliveries. In this issue of Epidemiology, Leung and colleagues present data from Hong Kong on morbidity in offspring related to C-section. Such studies are needed to widen the scope of possible health outcomes related to elective C-sections, including such endpoints as maternal satisfaction and women's relationship with their child. Testing of interventions to reduce unnecessary C-sections is also needed, with strategies to enhance the role of women in the process of their obstetric care.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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