Portugal’s acts (finally) over record levels of Caesarean births

New data shows that Portugal is at last turning the tables on its record number of C-section births.

From being the country with the highest percentage of Caesarean births in Europe only four years ago, Portugal is now registering levels last seen in 2002.

According to RTP News, these are still above the European average – but far more encouraging than they have been for over a decade.

Serious concerns set in in 2010 when Portugal was found to have 35% of new mums giving birth by C-section.

Experts warned this was not simply the most expensive way to have a baby, it was also one of the most dangerous.

“Four out of every five women who die in childbirth are women who have been subjected to a Caesarean,” explained head of obstetrics at Lisbon’s Hospital de Santa Maria, Luís Graça.

Graça intimated that many C-sections performed in Portugal were unnecessary.

“Many were done without any formal medical indication,” he told RTP.

Thus he welcomed what he termed the “heightened control and reflection” over their use.

Caesarean births carry short and long-term risks, he stressed. And once they are entered into “without formal medical indication”, subsequent natural births are also compromised, as the uterus bears a scar that could rupture.

Portugal’s new level of C-section births is 28% – a long way from levels in Northern European countries but much improved on the 36% registered here in 2010.

By NATASHA DONN [email protected]