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J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2004 Aug;26(8):735-42.

Recent trends in caesarean delivery rates and indications for caesarean delivery in Canada.

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Health Surveillance and Epidemiology Division, Centre for Healthy Human Development, Health Canada, Ottawa, ON.



To examine recent trends in Caesarean delivery rates as well as the indications for Caesarean delivery in Canada, excluding the provinces of Manitoba and Quebec.


All deliveries (N = 1 807 388) recorded in the Canadian Institute for Health Information's Discharge Abstract Database for the years 1994/95 to 2000/01 were included in the study (all hospital deliveries in Canada except for those occurring in Manitoba and Quebec). Temporal trends and inter-provincial/territorial variations in Caesarean delivery rates were quantified, and the primary indications for Caesarean delivery during the study period were compared.


The overall Caesarean delivery rate increased from 18.0% in 1994/95 to 22.1% in 2000/01. The primary Caesarean delivery rate increased from 12.7% to 16.3%, while the rate of vaginal birth after Caesarean decreased from 33.3% to 28.5% over the same period. Most of the increase in primary Caesarean deliveries was due to increases in Caesarean deliveries for dystocia, which increased from 6.9% in 1994/95 to 9.2% in 2000/01. The largest increase in repeat Caesarean deliveries was due to elective repeat Caesarean sections, which increased from 37.7% to 40.3%. Approximately 15% of the increase in overall Caesarean delivery rates was explained by increases in maternal age. The rate of vaginal deliveries following forceps rotation declined from 1.9% in 1994/95 to 1.3% in 2000/01.


Most of the recent increase in Caesarean delivery rates in Canada was attributed to increases in primary Caesarean delivery for dystocia and elective repeat Caesarean deliveries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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