One in three Queensland babies born by c-section

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Queensland has the highest rate of caesarean-section births in Australia, with one in three mums now giving birth in this way ...

... dramatic rise in the proportion of women having caesarean sections, from a national average of 21.1 per cent in 1998 to 30.9 per cent in 2007.

... Queensland had the highest rate of caesarian-sections, with 33.1 per cent of births occurring in this fashion in 2007, while Tasmania had the lowest rate (28 per cent).

In Queensland, six in 10 c-section births happened without labour.

... Unlike their New South Wales counterparts, women in Queensland public hospitals could "demand" a C-section without a medical reason ...

Dr Pecoraro, himself an obstetrician and gynaecologist, said he believed it would be patronising to refuse that request if the woman had done her research and made an educated decision.

He said one in seven women had genital herpes, which babies could contract during a vaginal birth, while a large number identified as survivors of sexual abuse and may prefer a c-section.

"When I started practising I was so surprised at how accurate these figures are," he said.

While there were some health risks from c-sections, women who relied on assisted reproduction often decided to have one because they had enlisted more "emotional captial" in the birth.

"Some of them want a bit more control and some of them see having their own c-section gives them a bit more control rather than putting it out to the cosmos," Dr Pecoraro said.

... "It stems from fear; they are afraid of what may happen to them in labour," ...

He said if doctors could help decrease the fear by educating women about the birth process, that was one way to reduce the c-section rate.

"All the doctors realise that it's a relatively high number and it does seem to be increasing and it does raise alarm bells," he said.

Dr Pecoraro said decisions were best made by the woman and her doctor.

It was "incredibly common" for women to ask their doctors to tell a husband or mother-in-law that a c-section was the best option ...

Midwives play a really important role in alleviating fear and anxiety around birth. Many midwives will see women with a history of a previous traumatic birth, intense fear or birth or of pain during birth or women who have a history of child abuse and who prefer to have a caesarean. However, with continuity of care, sensitivity and the establishment of a supportive and therapeutic relationship, many women will feel confident to start labour naturally and "see what happens". The result? Most of the time women birth naturally and drug-free ... and amaze themselves!