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Matern Child Health J. 2012 Oct;16(7):1484-90. doi: 10.1007/s10995-011-0913-7.

Clinical indications and determinants of the rise of cesarean section in three hospitals in rural China.

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  • 1Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, NE MS K-23, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.


This study investigated changes in cesarean delivery rate and cesarean indications in 3 county-level hospitals in rural China. Hospital delivery records in 1997 and 2003 were used to examine the reasons behind the changes. In Chengde County Hospital, the cesarean delivery rate increased from 28% in 1997 to 54% in 2003. The rate increased from 43% in 1997 to 65% in 2003 in Anxian County Hospital and Anxian Maternal and Child Health Hospital. The dramatic increase in cesarean delivery in the study hospitals was associated with a shift from more severe to mild or no clinical indications. The ratio of mild to moderate to severe hypertension increased substantially. More than half of the cephalopelvic disproportion cases were diagnosed prior to labor. The majority of nuchal cord cases were diagnosed without fetal distress. Maternal/family request was the number one cesarean indication in Anxian County Hospital and Anxian MCH Hospital in 2003. Ultrasound evidence of nuchal cord moved from the ninth ranked indication in 1997 to the second in 2003 in Chengde County Hospital.

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