India might soon have most caesarean births, suggest reports from the National Family and Health Survey. The report reveals that the number of caesarean births was 17.2% during the period from January 2015 to December 2016.
The rate of caesarean births in India seen during this period is higher than the recommended rate by WHO which is 10-15%. The rate is higher than what is observed in rich countries such as the Netherlands and Finland. The report suggests that continuing this trend could soon make India have the largest number of C-section births in the world.
The prevalence of maternal mortality and morbidity is higher after caesarean than after vaginal birth, according to a 2018 report by The Lancet. C-section birth is also noted to be associated with an increased risk of uterine rupture, ectopic pregnancy, abnormal placentation, stillbirth and preterm birth. Children born via C-section have also been studied to have an altered gut microbiome diversity and immunity due to less bacterial exposure making them prone to allergies, asthma and childhood obesity.
The study found that the rates of C-section varied across states. Caesarean rate was 5.8% in Nagaland while it was 57.7% in Telangana. Taking socioeconomic condition into account the rate of C-section was reported to be as small as 4.4% among the poorest group and 35.9% among the richest quintile.
“More than a third of the births are delivered by caesarean section among the richest quintile and in several states of South India such as Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Telangana – with rates above 50% reported in some districts”, stated Alexandre Dumont, demographer at the Population and Development Center, The French Research Institute for Development, Paris in a release. He is one of the authors of the study which was published in JAMA Network Open.
The high rates may point out that there is increased C-section deliveries among non-risk pregnancies in the privileged classes.