Increased Cesarean section rates in Turkey

Koc I.

EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CONTRACEPTION AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE, vol.8, no.1, pp.1-10, 2003 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


The aim of this study was to examine the trend in Cesarean section deliveries and the factors associated with Cesarean sections in Turkey. Data come from the ever-married women questionnaire of the 1998 Turkish Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS-98). During the decade preceding the TDHS-98, the proportion of deliveries by Cesarean section increased from 5.7% to 20.8%. When only hospital births were considered, the percentage of Cesarean deliveries for the year 1998 was found to be 26.1%. The estimated rate for the year 2001 was around 30% (i.e. double the maximum rate of Cesarean sections defined by the World Health Organization). Logistic regression analysis performed for the births occurring in the most recent period of 1993-98 revealed that the highest Cesarean section rate was strongly associated with maternal education, maternal age, place of delivery, number with prenatal care and household welfare. These findings imply that women with higher socioeconomic status are more likely to accept Cesarean section than women with lower socioeconomic status. The trend of increasing Cesarean section rates is a problem in itself, but more importantly it may indicate that Turkey is headed toward a more costly medical delivery system. For all of these reasons, the reduction of Cesarean section rates should be a priority for any reproductive health program in Turkey in order to improve the quality of prenatal care and to reduce the number of maternal deaths and morbidity.