MedWire News: The risk for maternal death and serious complications is high for women undergoing cesarean section and should therefore be done only when medically indicated, show findings from the third phase of World Health Organization (WHO) global survey on maternal and perinatal health.
For the survey, Metin Gulmezoglu (WHO, Switzerland) and co-authors analyzed 107,950 deliveries reported in 122 facilities from nine Asian countries.
The overall rate of cesarean section was 27.3 percent, while that of operative vaginal delivery was 3.2 percent. Facilities in China, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Thailand had higher rates of cesarean section than did those in Cambodia, India, Japan, Nepal, and the Philippines.
Women undergoing operative vaginal delivery had a 2.1-fold increased risk for maternal mortality and morbidity index (at least one of: maternal mortality, admission to intensive care unit [ICU], blood transfusion, hysterectomy, or internal iliac artery ligation) compared with women delivering spontaneously.
An increased risk was also seen for all types of cesarean section, with respective odds ratios (ORs) of 2.7, 10.6, 14.2, and 14.5 for antepartum delivery without indication, antepartum delivery with indication, intrapartum without indication, and intrapartum with indication, respectively.
However, cesarean section was associated with improved perinatal outcomes for breech presentation (OR = 0.2 antepartum and 0.3 intrapartum)
The researchers conclude: “Cesarean section should be done only when there is a medical indication to improve the outcome for the mother or the baby.”