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C-section is the most commonly performed operation worldwide.

Higher Death Rates from Cesarean Section in Developing Countries

By Sonam  •  

A study done at the Queen Mary University of London reveals that cesarean section is threatening the lives of women and babies in low and middle-income countries. This study was published in the Lancet journal on 28 March 2019.

A cesarean section also known as C-section is a medical procedure which is used to give birth to babies with the help of surgery. This procedure is a risk for both the mother and the baby. Timely access to a C-section is a basic requirement for safe childbirth.

C-section is the most commonly performed operation worldwide. There are a lot of risk factors associated with this procedure which often leads to the death of the mother and the child.

Scientists looked at data of 196 studies from 67 low and middle-income countries. The study covered a total of 12 million (approx. 1.2 crores) pregnancies. Scientists studied the data and discovered that the rate of deaths after the first week of birth and stillborns was 84.7 per 1000 c-section.

Scientists also found that there were 23.8 % of women who had died while undergoing c-section. The study also revealed that women who underwent emergency c-section in low and middle-income countries were twice more likely to die as compared to women delivering by elective c-section.

The study also discovered that there were a lot of risk factors like poor resources, late referrals, poor access, and inappropriate procedures causing such incidents. Sometimes the procedure is being performed ‘too little, too late’ or ‘too many, too soon’. It was also found that 32 % of deaths were associated with postpartum hemorrhage (excessive bleeding after the birth of a baby).

Shakila Thangaratinam, lead author of the study said, “Now that we know the risk factors and countries associated with poor outcomes, we can make a more targeted effort to improve conditions for mothers globally so that timely and safe cesarean sections can be done wherever they are needed.”

There have been many studies which explain and reveal the increased death rates during or after a c-section procedure in low and middle-income countries. Another study that supports and adds on the findings of the current study illustrates the increase in death rates in African countries following a c-section procedure.

The results of both studies provide an insight that there are steps that are required to improve the current situation. The scientists of the study are reaching out to healthcare providers, and medical professionals to promote appropriate use of procedures and to also improve access to surgery and provide safe surgical environments.

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