C-section rates attributed to differing care

The reason C-sections are more common in some B.C. regions is likely related to inconsistent medical service, not requests from mothers, according to a new University of B.C. study.

The reason C-sections are more common in some B.C. regions is likely related to inconsistent medical service, not requests from mothers, according to a new University of B.C. study.

Researchers examined all deliveries in B.C. between 2004 and 2007 in the province’s 16 health regions. They found that Southern Vancouver Island had the highest rate of C-sections at 27.5 per cent of births. Kootenay Boundary had the lowest at 16.1 per cent.

The study appears in the June 2010 issue of the journal obstetrics and gynecology.

“(The report) suggests that there’s room for improving the C-section rate by clarifying guidelines,” said lead author Gillian Hanley.

She said she believes that health-care professionals are interpreting and responding differently to similar medical conditions when determining the necessity of a C-section.

Hanley emphasized that according to the data, maternal request is not the main reason for high C-section rates in the province (two per cent).

On the other hand, dystocia — or abnormal or difficult childbirth — accounts for 30 per cent of decisions to perform a C-section.

She added that variations at medical institutions, including funding and the availability of facilities and equipment, as well as socioeconomic differences among patients are potentially important factors that the study did not explore.

 
 
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