1 in 5 babies worldwide now born via caesarean

Caesareans growing at an 'alarming rate': Lancet report

More than one in five babies worldwide are now born via caesarean, with more than half of births delivered surgically in some countries, according to international researchers.

In a worldwide report on 169 nations, the average global caesarean rate has almost doubled from 12% in 2000 to 21% in 2015.

That's an average annual increase of almost 4%, according to a series of research papers and editorials published in the Lancet.

Almost two-thirds of the 169 countries surveyed overused caesareans, above the recommended level of 10-15% of births where caesareans are considered medically necessary, the authors say.

Australia has a rate of 32.7%, while in at least 15 countries in the world, the caesarean rate exceeds 40%.

Meanwhile, one in four countries underuse caesareans, with rates well below 10-15%.

“Worldwide there is an alarming increase in caesarean section rates,” writes