Egypt’s Ministry of Health and Population spokesperson, Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar, announced on Friday that the percentage of “medically unjustified” caesarean childbirth is more than 62 percent of total deliveries in Egypt.
Abdel-Ghaffar noted that unnecessary caesarean deliveries (C-sections), which are deliveries that could have been performed naturally, result in higher chances of placing the newborn baby in an incubator.
The number of total caesarean delivers in Egypt increased to 72 percent from 52 percent in 2014, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS).
The Ministry recently took a number of measures to promote natural birth, including providing financial incentives for medical staff to perform natural birth, and to distribute questionnaires to spark discussions on ways to encourage pregnant women to adopt the idea of natural birth.
A caesarean section, or C-section, is an operation to deliver the baby through a cut made in the abdomen. While it is considered to be the safest option in certain situations, such as fetal distress or obstructed labor, it carries a number of risks if performed when there is no medical need.
These risks include heavy bleeding or infection, slower recovery after childbirth, delays in establishing breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact, and increased chances of complications in future pregnancies.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a number of steps that can reduce medically unnecessary use of caesarean sections, such as childbirth preparation workshops, relaxation programmes and psychosocial support to combat fear of pain or anxiety, and midwifery-obstetrician model of care.
Mother Being, a body literacy, sex education, and wellness platform for women across the Middle East, released a video on social media raising awareness around the dangers of unnecessary caesarean deliveries, and added that the health system in Egypt does not yet have the capacity to support a woman during natural birth.
The video raised the alarm around the fact that the percentage of C-sections is currently 72 percent in Egypt, despite the fact that the WHO recommends that countries should not exceed 15 percent.
Nour Emam, CEO and Founder of Motherbeing, added that there is a limited number of midwifery-obstetrician model of care, which puts extra pressure on doctors to perform caesarean due to the excessive number of cases that they deal with everyday.