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Original article

Vol. 144 No. 0708 (2014)

Analysis of caesarean section rates over time in a single Swiss centre using a ten-group classification system

  • Martin Müller
  • Laura Kolly
  • Marc Bauman
  • Sara Imboden
  • Daniel Surbek
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2014;144:w13921


OBJECTIVE: Caesarean section (CS) rates have risen over the past two decades. The aim of this observational study was to identify time-dependent variations in CS and vaginal delivery rates over a period of 11 years.

METHOD: All deliveries (13,701 deliveries during the period 1999–2009) at the University Women’s Hospital Bern were analysed using an internationally standardised and approved ten-group classification system. Caesarean sections on maternal request (CSMR) were evaluated separately.

RESULTS: We detected an overall CS rate of 36.6% and an increase in the CS rate over time (p <0.001). Low-risk profile groups were the two largest populations and displayed low CS rates, with significantly decreasing relative size over time. The relative size of groups with induced labour increased significantly, but this did not have an impact on the overall CS rate. Pregnancies complicated by breech position, multiple pregnancies and abnormal lies did not have an impact on overall CS rate. The biggest contributor to a high CS rate was preterm delivery and the existence of a uterine scar from a previous CS. CSMR was 1.45% and did not have an impact on the overall CS rate.

CONCLUSION: The observational study identified wide variations in caesarean section and vaginal delivery rates across the groups over time, and a shift towards high-risk populations was noted. The biggest contributors to high CS rates were identified; namely, previous uterine scar and preterm delivery. Interventions aiming to reduce CS rates are planned.


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