A new study has disproved a widely believed theory that women in labour demand Caesarean operations as they involve lesser pain.
A research team at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists looked at data for more than 620,000 single baby births in England in 2008 at 146 NHS Trusts.
Of these, 147,726 were delivered by caesarean, the most common reason being medical. Nine out of 10 women with a breech baby had one, and 71 percent of women who had previously had a Caesarean opted to have another.
Caesarean it is still regarded as major surgery, and like any major operation, it carries the risk of bleeding and infection, and the wound can also make it harder for a new mother to cope in the first few weeks following birth.
As such, it is generally reserved for cases in which the risks of delivering clearly outweigh the risks of a Caesarean.
"This research scotches the myth there is a large group of women clamouring for caesarean on demand," the BBC quoted Mary Newburn at National Childbirth Trust as saying.
With the increasing number of Caesarean deliveries, researchers believe that the lack of a precise medical definition for either 'foetal distress' or for abnormal or difficult labour in general, could be responsible as some doctors and midwives may be less prepared to allow labour to continue naturally as potential problems are spotted.
"Most women want to avoid major surgery if they have a good chance of a safe, straightforward birth, as is the case for the large majority of mothers," Newburn said.
The study is published in the British Medical Journal.