No Evidence For Caesarean Limit

World Health Organisation Says Limit On Number Of Caesarean Births Should Be Scrapped

01.07.2010

An upper limit on the number of births carried out by Caesarean section (C-section) should be scrapped, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

Previous advice from the global health body said that only 10% to 15% of babies should be born by C-section. However, that recommendation appears to have been overturned after the WHO said there was no evidence that a limit was necessary.

In the UK, one in four (25%) births are carried out by C-section, prompting many to question why doctors have continued to disregard WHO advice.

The health organisation stressed that "what matters most is that all women who need Caesarean sections receive them".

It added that "there is no empirical evidence for an optimum percentage" and that doctors should recommended C-sections on a case-by-case basis and not in order to meet targets.

The rise in the number of obese and older women experiencing complications during labour has led to an increase in the number of C-sections taking place in maternity wards across the UK.

Recent figures show that more than half of all C-sections are carried out as an emergency.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Julie Lewis from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “We are pleased to see the change of stance being taken by WHO in relation to optimum caesarean section percentage.  It has always seemed to us that the important factor was safety of mother and baby and this must involve assessing each case on an individual basis rather than applying percentage targets.”