WHO retracted their 15% caesarean rate target!

In 2011 the Coalition for Childbirth Autonomy called for the retraction of the World Health Organisation’s recommendation that the caesarean rate should not exceed 15% suggesting that the small number of research papers on which this 1985 recommendation was based have been superceded by a number of large, contemporary studies of caesarean birth. In a subsequent press release by the CCA the WHO retraction was exposed. This was later reported in the press (BBC) (Medical News Today)

The WHO’s ‘Monitoring Emergency Obstetric Care: a handbook’ now states that there is “no empirical evidence for an optimum percentage”, an “optimum rate is unknown,” and world regions may now “set their own standards”.

Despite this, this figure is still being widely quoted in the world press despite having NEVER been a recommended target. And some UK hospitals still refer to it when negotiating with families regarding elective caesareans. There is no ideal rate and alone cannot legitimately be used as an argument to refuse a request for a caesarean delivery.