Caesarean trend above average

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 27/11/2012

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First time mothers have helped bump up South Canterbury's caesarean trend to just above the national average.

South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB) has reported 20 of the district's 123 first time mothers who gave birth in 2010 had a caesarean, equating to 16.3 per cent.

The national average is 15.4 per cent.

In 2009, the SCDHB reported 17 of the district's 121 first time mothers had caesareans.

Timaru obstetrician and gynaecologist Geoff Werkmeister said caesarean trends in South Canterbury had remained "fairly constant" in the past three years. The procedure is only considered in exceptional circumstances, he said.

"C-sections (caesareans) are performed for obstetric reasons such as breech presentations, low placenta, and are planned procedures or emergency c-sections."

He said the procedure does come with risks - to both mother and baby, including haemorrhage or bleeding, infection, thrombosis, trauma to organs and aesthetic problems.

However, a Health Ministry report suggests that in some parts of the country there was an increase in first time mothers having caesareans when they did not need one.

Dr Werkmeister said "on demand" caesareans are not funded and patients would have to go out of the district to get the procedure if it was not necessary.

"We are not aware of any patients doing this."

He said the DHB works on building rapport with expectant mothers to help them overcome the fears related to their own safety and their baby's.

There were 541 births in Timaru in the 2011/2012 year, of which 128 were caesareans.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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