Older mothers more likely to have caesarians
Caesarian delivery is by demand
Women in their mid-thirties tended to have twice as many caesarians as those in their mid-twenties
Teams from the University of Aberdeen and Aberdeen Maternity Hospital have been analysing records of the 24,000 births recorded as taking place in the city between 1988 and 1997.
They discovered that women in their mid-thirties tended to have twice as many caesarians as those in their mid-twenties. With women aged 38 and over, incidence rates soared higher and higher, even if their babies were presenting normally and there appeared to be no complications threatening delivery.
The study was undertaken in light of reports that caesarian births in older mothers are increasing at a rate of 1% per annum in the UK - with some maternity units delivering one in every three babies this way. The National Childbirth Trust has called such levels 'unacceptable.'
The Aberdeen study says these rates are not medically justified, but that caesarian delivery is demanded by either the consultant or the mother-to be (and records do not indicate which) on the basis of fear and fear alone since a 'normal' birth is considered to carry a slightly higher risk of damaging a baby. However, some anti-caesarian campaigners claim the procedure is being undertaken as a result of the lack of midwives to look after women on a one-to-one basis.