What Does the Increase in Cesarean Sections Mean for Maternal Health and Rights?

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By: Natalie Ramm, Communications Coordinator, Maternal Health Task Force, Women and Health Initiative

Rates of cesarean section are extremely high in certain countries like Brazil and the United States, among others, and dangerously low in others. The World Health Organization stated that the target range of cesarean section rates is 10-15 percent. In Brazil, the rate is 82 percent.

The Atlantic reported that the procedure has become a standard practice in Brazil “driven primarily by unwanted procedures rather than personal preference. And some women elect to go under the knife only after hearing about the rough treatment of mothers who choose the alternative.” Maternal rights need to be taken into account when it comes to making an important choice that affects the health of women and their families.

Though Brazil’s cesarean section rates are high, according to the WHO, countries like Nigeria and Ethiopia have dangerously low rates at 1.8% and 1.0% respectively. Interventions and resources are needed to balance these inequities.

We have compiled a list of research articles, reports, and news articles on cesarean sections. And we encourage you to share your thoughts on the topic with us via Twitter and Facebook.

Recent research articles and reports on cesarean sections

Recent news articles on cesarean sections

If you have suggestions for additional research or news articles to add to this list, please contact Natalie Ramm.