Cesarean section births: How often are they the safe option?

Cesarean section births have been a part of human culture for hundreds of years and yet, doctors are still trying to figure out how often they are the safe option for mom and baby. New research has the answer.

In Healthworks, it's the most common operation done worldwide, the C-section, but since the mid 80's the world health organization has aimed to keep C-section rates at 10 to fifteen percent but Fox 2's brings us new research that says those numbers might be off.

Just how many of these babies were born via C-section?

"Almost one out of every five births on the planet, occur via cesarean section,” said Alex B. Haynes, M.D. of Ariadne Labs.

"Poorer countries were actually doing more C-sections as a proportion of all the care that they were providing, compared to wealthier countries,” said George Molina, M.D. of Ariadne labs.

Doctors looked at the numbers all over the world, estimating how many babies were born with C-section worldwide in 2012, and how that affects both mother and child.

The magic number appears to be 19, 19 C-sections per 100 births leads to lower rates of mother and infant death go higher than 19 percent and the result doesn't improve.

"Across the world the average cesarean section rate is over 19 percent going from 19 to 25 to 30 percent did not result in improvements in neonatal or maternal mortality on a nationwide level,” said Haynes, M.D.

The study in the journal of the American Medical Association finds that on a global level we have some work to do.

"There are many countries where not enough cesarean sections are being performed, meaning there is inadequate access to safe and timely emergency obstetric care and conversely, that there are some countries where probably more cesarean sections are being performed than yield health benefits,” said Haynes, M.D.

The authors caution that these findings do not apply to any individual patients, facilities or hospitals.

"Our research can give some guidance for why countries should make their healthcare systems stronger so that they can provide safe, reliable and timely C-sections,” said Molina, M.D.

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