ISSN 2330-717X

Saudi Arabia: Alarming Rise In Caesarean Births

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By Ghazanfar Ali Khan

The rate of babies delivered by Caesarean section in Saudi Arabia is growing alarmingly with the nationwide increase reflecting an upward trend in these cases in recent years.

A cross section of medical experts expressed concerns Saturday over the fact that caesarian delivery cases surged by 67 percent in the country last year.

A similar trend was noticed in the first quarter of 2016 with experts saying that the reasons behind the surge are preventable.

“The main reason is that pregnant women have become lazy; they don’t move and they are not aware of the benefits of walking or exercising during pregnancy,” said Dr. Ahmed Marzouq, a gynecology and obstetrics specialist at the Health Ministry.

He said that women opt for caesarean births due to “laziness”; they do not want to go through the natural birth process. Obesity also plays a major role in childbirth and also contributes to the increase in laziness especially among pregnant women.

According to figures released by the Saudi Diabetes and Endocrinology Society, 70 percent of the Kingdom’s local population is classed as obese.

“All these factors are contributing to the significant increase in the C-section delivery rate in tertiary health care centers,” said Tayyaba L. Al-Harbi, a gynecologist at a local private hospital. Al-Harbi said the importance of exercise should be taught to every prospective mother, especially in a country like Saudi Arabia where physical movement of women is somewhat restricted.

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This notion has been further substantiated by a study conducted by the Lancet medical journal, which found that Saudi Arabia’s population is the third most slothful in the world with 68.3 percent of adults failing to do any exercise. “Only in Malta and Swaziland are adults even more inactive than in Saudi Arabia,” said the study, while referring to the need to need to generate awareness about exercise and sports both among men and women.

Similar views were expressed by Layla Abdul Razak, another gynecologist, who said there are health hazards associated with C-section deliveries. “The threat that comes with it should be taken into account since it is medically proven and suggested that it is not suitable for mothers to undergo three or four caesareans because of the complications that come with it.”

Lily Chaerian, an Indian nurse, working at a private hospital for 15 years, said: “Every now and then, deaths are reported during C-sections if the cases are complex.” She said private hospitals have been performing more C-sections than the government hospitals. She, however, noted that the surging trend in caesarian cases is noticed in all Gulf countries, where social and family lifestyles are identical.

Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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