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Total Cesarean Rates by Reportable Health Region, Canada, 2005–2006

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Discussion of cesarean section data:

The total C-section rate in Canada in 2005–2006 was 26.3%, which is lower than the rate in the U.S. (29.1%) and Australia (29.4%) in 2004, though higher than the rate in England in 2005–2006 (23.5%). Similarly, the primary (18.6%) and repeat C-section rates (81.9%) in Canada in 2005–2006 were lower than the rates in the U.S. in 2004 (20.6% and 90.8%, respectively). The increase in the total, primary and repeat C-section rates in Canada is consistent with what has been observed globally. The rise in repeat C-section rates indicates that the proportion of women who have a vaginal birth after having had a C-section has decreased. This agrees with what has been observed historically and has been attributed to increases in elective repeat Caesarean deliveries. Increased C-section rates are associated with higher maternal age, lower parity and high pre-pregnancy weight. In Canada, the average age of mothers giving birth has increased, as has the proportion of mothers giving birth for the first time. Similarly, obesity rates among Canadian women have increased significantly. Changes in obstetrical practices, increased acceptance of obstetric interventions, low tolerance for fetal risk and potential medico-legal concerns may also account for the increase in C-section rates.

One issue that has garnered much debate is the influence of maternal requests for C-sections on the increasing rates. While it has been suggested that this might be more common among affluent women, no association between socio-economic status and C-section rates has been identified in Canada. Furthermore, a recent review of the literature on this topic found that the proportion of C-sections performed solely on the basis of maternal request was actually very low, and suggested that physicians’ perceptions of women’s views and physicians’ personal preferences may be factors in driving the rate upward.

Source: Giving Birth in Canada: Regional Trends From 2001-2002 to 2005-2006.


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Reader Comments (7)

Moral of the story, don't give birth too near where the obstetricians like to live.

It's ridiculous that, in this day of high speed computers, the statistics are 4 years old.

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGloria Lemay

A reader named Holly found a pdf on the CIHI site with more recent data, fortunately.


I'll try to get these mapped at some point. People are really digging the visual display of data.

February 15, 2010 | Registered CommenterJill

on the visual display of data, you might find this inspiring http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterQoB

It's ridiculous that, in this day of high speed computers, the statistics are 4 years old.

Amen, and amen! You can bet that the hospitals don't delay 4 years to bill for these births, so the information is collected *somewhere*.

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

The most common complaint about a C-section is pain, lack of mobility, and lengthy recovery time after surgery. Because a C-section is a major operation, pain at the incision site can be intense and recovery can take up to several weeks, and if a woman has had a prior C-section delivery she has a higher chance of a uterine rupture. The risks increase if the surgery is done in an emergency situation, because there could be a problem with the anesthesia if the patient’s stomach isn’t empty or there are other factors involved.

February 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCaesarean section

There are several types of C-sections: classical, lower uterine segment, emergency, crash, repeat, hysterectomy, and extra-peritoneal. The differences lie mostly in the incision that is made below the skin and subcutaneous tissue on the mother’s uterus. The classical C-section is a transverse cut resulting in vertical line in the midsection from above the bladder and up, which gives the baby more room to get out but is rarely used anymore because of complications that can result from the surgery. The most commonly used today is the lower uterine segment section, which is a horizontal cut just above the bladder that doesn’t bleed as much and repairs itself quicker. An emergency C-section is done when labor ceases and the baby needs to come out; a crash C-section happens when something goes wrong during labor and the mother is rushed off to emergency to save the lives of mother and baby; a Caesarean section hysterectomy is when the surgery is followed by the uterus’ removal to prevent bleeding or separate the placenta from the uterus. Repeat C-sections are performed through the old incision scar.

February 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCaesarean section


February 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterspam
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