Introduction. This study aimed to estimate the most recent caesarean section rates in the world and examine the association between these rates and old and new indicators of health care.
Methods. Authors analyzed the Caesarean Section (CS) rates, also in geo-economic and economic groups, and correlated them to maternal and neonatal mortality, to births attended by skilled health personnel and to births among adolescents. Analysis of covariance
and piecewise regressions were used for the statistical analysis.
Results. In 47.2% of the countries, the CS rate exceeded 15%. Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean along with Europe, North America and Oceania had the highest values. The analysis showed an inverse association between CS rates and Maternal Mortality (MMR) and Neonatal Mortality (NMR) for all geographical areas except for Europe. The greatest association was observed in lower-middle-income countries. In developing countries only 50% of cases, occur in medical facilities and only half of these are seen by medical, nursing and obstetrical staff. Age of the mother appears to influence the outcome and choice of delivery type. Countries where an high ABR rate is present have low CS use.
Conclusions. To best evaluate the consequences of the increasing rate of CS, it would be useful to identify the most sensitive outcome indicators.