HITTING THE HEADLINES
01 Nov 2007
Caesarean sections increase the risk of poor outcomes for mothers and babies, reported three national newspapers (31 Oct 2007). These articles were based on a large cohort study the conclusions of which appear appropriate.
The reports were based on a study published in the BMJ(4). The WHO funded study collected data on 93,000 births from 120 hospitals in 8 Latin American countries. The data showed an approximate doubling in the risk of maternal death or serious complication with planned caesarean section after other explanatory factors had been accounted for. The risk of death for babies presenting breech, delivered by a planned caesarean was one quarter of that following vaginal delivery. The risk of being admitted to intensive care for babies presenting head-first after planned caesarean was doubled.