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Study Examines C-Section Rates, Maternal, Infant Mortality Worldwide; Findings Challenge Upper Limit Of WHO Recommendations

News outlets report on a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looking at the risks and benefits of cesarean-section births worldwide.

Washington Post: New study challenges decades-old guidelines on how many pregnant women should get C-sections
“…The study … examined nearly 23 million C-section deliveries that occurred worldwide in 2012. It showed that mother and infant deaths continue to decline as the C-section rate reaches 19 percent of births. Only then did mother and infant deaths level off. A report released by WHO earlier this year found conflicting evidence that the benefit to mother and child ceased above 10 percent…” (Johnson, 12/1).

WIRED: How Many C-Sections Is Too Many C-Sections?
“…Specifically, [the] group’s results show that yearly maternal and neonatal mortality rates plummet as C-section rates increase from zero to seven percent. They continue to drop, although less dramatically, as rates climb from seven to 19 percent — suggesting that the WHO’s 30-year-old upper bounds may need an update…” (Palmer, 12/1).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.