The article, Implications of Cesarean Delivery for Breastfeeding Outcomes and Strategies to Support Breastfeeding by Kuyper E., Vitta B., and Dewey K., addresses four main issues:
- Rapidly rising C-section rates in low– to middle–income countries
- Lower breastfeeding initiation rates following C-section than vaginal births
- Breastfeeding rates at six months are the same among mothers who initiate breastfeeding irrespective of birth method
- Overall breastfeeding rates can improve with interventions to improve breastfeeding initiation rates.
C-section birth when medically indicated, is associated with reduced maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. This intervention is a valuable tool that saves lives in obstetrical emergencies. A national C-section birth rate less than 10 percent typically is indicative of unmet obstetric needs. Whereas a rate that exceeds 15 percent of total births, may indicate an excessive use of C-section delivery. C-section rates are increasing in many low- to middle-income countries as well as high-income countries. Globally, C-section birth has significantly increased since 1980. Back in 1980, the C-section rate in the USA was 16.5% and Brazil had a rate of 19%. Currently, the USA rate is greater than 30%, Brazil over 40% and some countries have reached rates as high as 60%.
With the improved access to emergency obstetrical care by trained health professionals, there may also be a trend towards non-medically indicated C-sections along with the “over-medicalization” of childbirth. Understanding that there are lower breastfeeding initiation rates following C-section births, these increasing rates are of concern. It is important to remember though, that those who successfully initiate breastfeeding after C-section birth, have similar rates of exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months, as mothers who birth vaginally.
This article recommends five strategies to improve breastfeeding outcomes post C-section birth which include: adopting supportive hospital policies, training medical staff to support breastfeeding post C-section birth, removing physical barriers to breastfeeding, C-section and breastfeeding education, and reducing non-medically indicated C-section births. To find out more about this interesting article please take the opportunity to completely read Implications of Cesarean Delivery for Breastfeeding Outcomes and Strategies to Support Breastfeeding