Obstetrician details potential causes behind huge increase in C-section births

A top obstetrician has spoken out about the steady rise in C-section births in Irish hospitals.

A recent report discovered that in five out of the 19 maternity units across the country, over 50% of first-time mothers have welcomed their babies through a C-section.

Now, a leading expert has noted some possible causes behind Ireland’s statistics being higher than other EU countries. 

The HSE’s National Women and Infants Health Programme clinical lead Cliona Murphy detailed that there can be complications surrounding C-sections. While it is usually a safe procedure, it is still a huge undertaking for the mother’s body and it can take up to eight weeks to recover.

“There are consequences, certainly. It’s not to say we don’t care what the caesarean section rate is, we absolutely do,” Dr Murphy explained.

The number of mothers giving birth over the age of 40 rose by 33% between 2011 and 2021, and Dr Murphy went on to state that this could have had an effect.

“We have seen an older age mother, and some of those will come with more complications,” she said.

Dr Murphy also detailed that the rising rates of obesity in Ireland could be a factor.

“What we are seeing is people developing diabetes in pregnancy and we do know that is more likely to happen if you are a higher weight,” she confessed.

“It’s not to be shaming of people over a certain weight. Obesity is being recognised as a disease of industrialised countries. It is to do with our obesogenic environment, but I do think we need to realise that there are implications for pregnancy,” she added.

However, Dr Murphy praised that mothers are no longer being separated from their babies for a lengthy amount of time after a C-section.

“Wherever you have babies being born, you will have midwives supporing the woman, how she feeds her baby, how she bonds with her baby. We recognise that is critical and such a memory for people,” she concluded.