C-section numbers 'tripled over past 30 years'

The number of babies born by caesarean section has nearly tripled over the past 30 years, new research has revealed.

Researchers from Scotland analysed data from almost 365,000 births in 1980-81, 1990-91 and 1999-2000 for their study.

In the 80s, women from the most deprived parts of the UK were likely to undergo an elective c-section.

However, by the end of 2000, women in the wealthiest areas of the country accounted for most elective c-sections, with those in lower socio-economic groups a fifth less likely to have one, researchers from Glasgow University said.

Ruth Dundas, of the social and public health sciences unit at the university, said there was a disappearance of social trends with regards to emergency caesarean sections over the study period.

"However, this does not explain the differences seen for elective section nor the differences seen between health boards," she added.

A recent study by scientists at the US University of Rochester revealed that high induction and first-caesarean delivery rates in low-risk pregnancies do not result in healthier newborn babies.