A new report says caesarean-section rates in Canada are continuing to rise, even while the rate of hospital births is declining.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information says there were more than 103,000 C-sections last year, making them the most common in-patient surgical procedure in the country.
The report also shows that giving birth was the most common reason for hospitalization in Canada — more than 366,000 admissions were due to childbirth in 2016–2017.
However, the hospital birth rate continued to decline, from 112 births per 10,000 population in 2007–2008 to 102 per 10,000 population in 2016–2017.
Overall, the proportion of births in Canadian hospitals performed by C-section rose to 28.2 per cent in 2016-2017 from 26.7 per cent in 2007-2008.
C-section rates varied across the country, from 35 per cent of births in British Columbia and 30 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador, to 18.5 per cent in the Northwest Territories and 23 per cent in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
"The CIHI data show caesarean-section rates slightly higher than in last year's report, with a concurrent decline in the number of babies with a vacuum- or forceps-assisted vaginal birth," said Dr. Jennifer Blake, CEO of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. "Each hospital needs to understand the contributing factors to caesarean sections in its population, but the ultimate goal will always be to have a healthy mother and baby."