Numbers of cesarean section in India have gone up! Here's why

Numbers of cesarean section in India have gone up! Here's why

There has been an upswing in the numbers of cesarean section in India. Read on to know about this procedure and its impact on a new mother and the baby

Keerti Guneja, 27, recently delivered a baby boy via a cesarean section in Delhi. A healthy expecting mother, Guneja was informed in the labour room that her baby had rotated inside the womb and was in breech position. This meant that the bottom of the baby was coming out first.

In this emergency situation, the doctors then performed this surgical procedure and delivered a healthy baby.

Guneja is one of the many women who have undergone a cesarean section in India. And the number is only rising. In a 2014 report published by QZ, it was reported that up until 2010, the percentage was 8.5 percent (below the recommended WHO level), but today it is touching the 41 percent mark.

Dr Nupur Gupta, gynaecologist & obstetrician, Director, Well Women Clinic, Gurgaon, spoke to She says that in India the cesarean section rate is growing steadily. “The average rate is more than 15-20 percent, which is higher than WHO recommendations,” she says.

So what is this procedure and how does it work?


A cesarean section (C-section) is a surgical procedure wherein; incisions are made into the stomach and the uterus to bring out the baby. A cesarean section can be planned if there are complications during the pregnancy or in an emergency if they arise during the childbirth.

cesarean section in India

A cesarean section is a surgical procedure wherein; incisions are made into the stomach and the uterus to bring out the baby

This video shows the common reasons for a cesarean delivery, including dystocia, placenta previa, fetal distress and multiple births. A cesarean section surgery to deliver a baby in breech position is also shown. The video also includes information on what to expect before and after the cesarean surgery.

Types of cesarean sections

Cesarean section is divided into two types based on two factors; complications and urgency.

  • Planned cesarean section: When the operation is pre-planned based on the health condition of the expecting mother, it is called pre-planned cesarean section. They are planned during the 37th or the 40th week of the pregnancy.
  • Emergency cesarean section: This operation is performed in an emergency when either the mother or the baby’s health is in danger during childbirth. Most of these surgeries are undertaken during the delivery, after labour has started.

Continue reading to know more about the types of cesarean sections in India

Cost of cesarean section in India

The cost of cesarean section differs from hospital to hospital. Dr Gupta of Well Women Clinic, Gurgaon, says, “Usually in government hospital, the cost ranges between Rs 2,500 and Rs 10,000. Whereas in private hospitals, it could go from Rs 40,000 to more than Rs 1 lakh.”

Why do I need an elective cesarean?

You may be recommended a cesarean section if vaginal delivery poses a risk to either the mother or the unborn child. In some cases, doctors decide well in advance whether or not to undergo this procedure based on complications during the pregnancy.

The complications during pregnancy include the following:

  • The mother is pregnant with more than two babies
  • The mother has genital herpes that can be passed on to the baby
  • The baby is in a breech, where the bottom is coming out first
  • The baby has a feotal abnormality or illness
  • The mother has a serious condition of preeclampsia
  • The mother has a history of cesarean section or has had uterine surgery
cesarean section in India

If the mother is pregnant with more than two babies, there is a likely chance of complication leading to a cesarean section

Remember that even if you do not have the above-mentioned complications, you can opt for a cesarean section in India, if you desire to deliver this way. It could happen if you are not comfortable with the idea of labour pains.

In India, it is also typical to undergo a cesarean section, if the families want a child to be born on an auspicious day.

Why I need an emergency cesarean?  

Sometimes you may not choose a cesarean section but you may have to undergo this surgical procedure due to certain complications. These complications include the following:

  • The baby is not getting enough oxygen
  • The baby or babies are in an abnormal position
  • The labour is not progressing
  • The mother is carrying more than two babies
  • There is a problem with the umbilical cord
  • Fibroid obstruction in the birth canal
  • The mother suffers from placental insufficiency
  • The birth passage is too small and the baby is too big
  • The mother or the baby have developed a complication during the pregnancy
  • The baby’s heart beat is irregular and cannot stand a vaginal birth

Continue reading to know more about the risk factors of cesarean section and precautions post surgery

Risk factors of cesarean section

If you have opted for pre-planned cesarean section, then you would be advised to take a few precautions. These are to allow a smooth procedure without any complications.

However, just like any other surgical procedure, a cesarean section also has its own set of risks that affect you and your newborn. Here’s why:

Complications for the baby

  • Newborn develops breathing problems: Several studies suggest that babies born through a cesarean section; are likely to develop breathing problems. This is true especially for surgeries performed on babies in the 37th or 39th
  • Surgical injury: Although it is rare, the baby could sustain injuries during the surgical procedure.

Complications for the mother

  • Infection and inflammation in the uterine lining: This particular condition is called endometritis where the infected uterine lining gives out a foul-smelling discharge.
  • Reaction to anesthesia: The mother could also be allergic to elements present in anesthesia. One of the most common side-effect is a long-staying headache.
  • Development of blood clots: The mother could also suffer from clotting of blood post the surgery. It can most likely develop in the legs or the pelvic organs.
  • Surgical injury: The mother could also develop surgical injuries in the bladder or even the uterus. This is especially true if the mother has had multiple cesarean sections.
  • Wound infection: Post the surgery, the vagina would be wounded and the mother might develop an infection if proper hygiene is not maintained. The wound sites could include the vaginal area or within the uterus.

Precautions post surgery

Dr Gupta of Well Women Clinic, Gurgaon, lists the following precautions that women must take post a cesarean section.

  • Start slow movements as early as possible and try to go the bathroom within the first 24 hours after surgery
  • Urinate after the catheter is removed
  • Talk to your health care provider about dealing with pain after the surgery
  • Keep a tab on the blood flow
  • Take care of the vaginal wound by keeping it dry
cesarean section in India

Avid lifting anything heavier than your baby post a cesarean section to avoid damage to the vaginal wound

  • Avoid any strenuous activities such as lifting heavy weights
  • Drink plenty of fluids and keep a healthy diet to avoid constipation
  • Take care of personal hygiene
  • Avoid sexual intercourse and exercise till permitted by the doctor

After a cesarean section, make sure that you do not strain your body and follow a healthy routine in order to recover faster.

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Written by

Deepshikha Punj

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