The rate of caesarean births is at an all-time high in Canada, putting more women at risk for complications and increasing the strain on an already overburdened health-care system, says the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

More than one-in-four newborns in Canada are now delivered by C-section, says the SOGC, which is looking for ways to halt and reverse that upward trend.

In light of the rising rates, the society is urging Canadian health-care providers and women to opt for C-sections only when deemed medically necessary.


“The SOGC’s position is that we should really strive for normal childbirth,” president Dr. Guylaine Lefebvre said from Calgary, where the organization is holding its annual meeting this week.

While generally considered a safe procedure — and often life-saving — a caesarean birth means longer hospital stays for women, more pain and a far longer recovery compared with vaginal delivery, she said, noting an abdominal incision takes about six weeks to heal.

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