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Tamil Nadu ranks fifth in C-section deliveries

At 34.1 per cent, the Caesarean section rates in Tamil Nadu, according to latest National Family Health Survey, is one of the highest in the country.

Tamil Nadu ranks fifth in C-section deliveries
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Tamil Nadu ranks fifth in C-section deliveries

Chennai

While the Union Government has suggested a periodical audit to keep a tab on the numbers, experts in the field say that in the absence of standardisation of healthcare facilities, the exercise would be futile. They attribute the higher rate to institutionalisation of deliveries, where more than 99 per cent of births take place in institutions. 

Tamil Nadu is ranked fifth with 34.1 per cent of C-section deliveries, as per the National Family Health Survey data (2015-2016) presented in the Parliament recently, while Telangana (58 per cent), Andhra (40.1 per cent), Lakshadweep (37.9 per cent) and Kerala (35.8 per cent) occupy the top four positions, when it comes to C-section deliveries. 

The rates are double in most of the Southern states, even as the World Health Organisation recommends that the percentage of C-sections is restricted at 10 per cent in the community. 

However, experts question the standard rate prescribed by WHO. Dr NS Kanimozhi, senior gynaecologist and obstetrician, says, “The population has been rising, does the prescribed rate take the increase into consideration? 

South India, including TN, has been witnessing increasing rate of institutional births for the past many decades—right from the government hospitals to primary healthcare centres. C-section numbers tend to be higher in an institutionalised set up.” 

Dr Lakshmi Shanmugasundaram from The Institute of Reproductive Medicine, Madras Medical Mission, says that in countries like the UK, the facilities are standardised and so are the outcomes. “But in India we don’t have a standardised form of healthcare. However, the government hospitals have kept the rate in control. In private set ups, we are yet to arrive at a standard norm,” she says. She adds that families are a huge motivating factor when it comes to normal deliveries. 

“We are yet to know the rate of tokophobia (fear of pregnancy and childbirth) and what are the social circumstances influencing it,” she says. 

Dr H Anitha V Kumari, obstetrician-gynaecologist, says that the incidence of babies being born with cord around the neck has increased drastically. 

“Similarly, even gestational hypertension and gestational diabetes have gone up and they are being increasingly diagnosed in the beginning of the pregnancy. The rise in such factors should also be taken into consideration,” she says. 

BIRTH & STATS 
  • Tamil Nadu placed among the top five states with high C-section rates at 34.1 per cent, as per NFHS (2015-2016).
  • The number of institutionalised births in the state is over 99 per cent.
  • C-sections are performed in cases like foetal distress, Cephalo-pelvic disproportion, for diabetic mothers with a big baby and those with antepartum haemorrhage (APH) or genital bleeding.

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