A new health care study by Lancet has illuminated a frightening trend in the global prevalence of caesarean sections. In wealthy countries, C-sections are often performed in the absence of underlying medical causes, while in developing countries, C-sections are inaccessible even when medically necessary. As of 2015, the C-sections were used for approximately 30% of births in North America, 44% in Latin America and the Caribbean, and only 5% in East Africa, standing in stark opposition to the World Health Organization’s recommendation rate of 10-15%. C-sections invite major risk, including maternal and postpartum infections, in addition to newborn death or extended hospitalization.  However, many women report that they are not informed by doctors of the implications and possible risk involved with this procedure and report being immensely pressured to receive C-sections. In short, the decision is driven not by mothers, but by doctors who allow financial motivations, fear of litigation, and even racial bias to inform their decisions. One potential solution to the practice of unnecessary C-sections is midwifery. As the Lancet study asserts, in both wealthy and developing countries, “care led by midwives — educated, licensed, regulated, integrated in the health system and working in interdisciplinary teams” would lead to improved outcomes,and reduced cost, lessening the barrier to care that many face.

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