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High C-section rates "worrying"

The rate of births by Caesarean section has increased sharply in the last two-and-a-half decades, with the number of women undergoing the surgery described as "worryingly high" by the Royal College of Midwives.

Despite previous calls for a reduction of usage, figures from The NHS Information Centre reveal that one in four babies born in England are still delivered by C-section.

This is twice the number recommended by the World Health Organisation, who say the rate should be no higher than 10% to 15%.

Mothers undergoing the surgery have more than a three times greater risk of needing a hysterectomy following their next pregnancy.

C-sections are also linked to higher risks for mother and baby, including risk of death, blood clots and infant breathing problems.

There are wide variations in figures between health trusts according to the latest report.

Babies born at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust are more than twice as likely to be delivered by Caesarean as those born in Sherwood Hospital in Nottingham.

Chelsea, at 33.3% of their 52,303 deliveries, has the highest rate in the country, as well as the highest percentage (15.8%) of those opting for the surgery rather than it occurring in an emergency.

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The NHS Information Centre