These are stats for 2005. In other words, there’s a good chance things are actually worse right now in terms of overuse of interventions.
C section rate 33.9%. This is rising dramatically. In 1991, it was 18.5%. In 2004, it was 32.4%. At the 2005 rate of increase, it may hit 40% by around 2008.
The rise in C section rate since 1991 has seen no corresponding increase in the proportion of livebirths. Perinatal mortality has barely improved, from 11 per 1000 perinatal death rate to 10.1 per 1000. (The biggest change occurred in 1997, with a drop to 9.3 per 1000, though the statistical significance of these changes is likely to be questionable at best.)
In births occurring in private hospitals, the C section rate skyrockets to 45.7%, though they deal with a wealthier, healthier population, and typically turf very preterm or complicated births to tertiary hospitals. In a hospital with a teaching department, which often deals with disadvantaged populations but is perhaps a little more likely to provide evidence-based care, the rate drops to 27.9%.
65% of women who had a C section never experienced labour.
17.8% of birthing women had their vagina cut open.
49.4% of women went into labour spontaneously. 28.6% of pregnant women had their labours induced.
Only 22.7% of women laboured without augmentation and had a spontaneous vaginal birth.
In other words, more than THREE IN EVERY FOUR births was profoundly interfered with. Over 50% of women had their bodies cut open with a scalpel or scissors at the time of birthing.
Can anyone seriously look at these statistics and pretend we don’t have a problem?
Who here thinks that fewer than a quarter of women can birth safely?