C-sections have soared18th May 2011
Middle-class mothers are more likely to give birth by caesarean than their working-class counterparts, according to a new study.
Researchers from the Medical Research Council and the Scottish Chief Scientist’s Office reached the conclusion after scrutinising hospital records in Scotland.
They focused on the periods 1980/81, 1990/91 and 1999/2000 and cross referred it with information on the mother’s occupation and address to get an idea of social class and financial circumstances.
Over the three periods, more than 300,000 births were studied.
They showed that as the number of C-sections has soared, the social status of the women having them has changed.
The trend for middle-class women to put off starting a family until they have established a career and are financially secure is also likely to have contributed to the rise, because older women are more prone to difficult pregnancies and births.
Ruth Dundas of the Medical Research Council in Glasgow said: “Thirty years ago mothers having caesarean sections were more likely to come from deprived areas or from a lower social background.
“By 1999/2000 the rates had equalised for emergency section, but babies born by elective surgery were more likely to belong to mothers from the higher of the social classes.”
Data also showed that the number of non-emergency C-sections rose from 3.6% of births to 5.5% over 20 years, but went from being more common in the poor to more likely among the wealthier.
By 2000, 17.4% of births were caesareans, with emergencies making up two-thirds of these.
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