Rising cesarean deliveries among apparently low-risk mothers at university teaching hospitals in Jordan: Analysis of population survey data, 2002-2012

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Background: Cesarean delivery conducted without medical indication places mothers and infants at risk for adverse outcomes. This study assessed changes in trends of, and factors associated with, cesarean deliveries in Jordan, from 2002 to 2012. Methods: Data for ever-married women ages 15-49 years from the 2002, 2007, and 2012 Jordan Population and Family Health Surveys were used. Analyses were restricted to mothers who responded to a question regarding the hospital-based mode of delivery for their last birth occurring within the 5 years preceding each survey (2002, N53,450; 2007, N56,307; 2012, N56,365). Normal birth weight infants and singleton births were used as markers for births that were potentially low risk for cesarean delivery, because low/high birth weight and multiple births are among the main obstetric variables that have been documented to increase risk of cesareans. Weighted descriptive and multivariate analyses were conducted using 4 logistic regression models: (1) among all mothers; and among mothers stratified (2) by place of delivery; (3) by birth weight of infants; and (4) by singleton vs. multiple births. Results: The cesarean delivery rate increased significantly over time, from 18.2% in 2002, to 20.1% in 2007, to 30.3% in 2012. Place of delivery, birth weight, and birth multiplicity were significantly associated with cesarean delivery after adjusting for confounding factors. Between 2002 and 2012, the rate increased by 99% in public hospitals vs. 70% in private hospitals; by 93% among normal birth weight infants vs. 73% among low/high birth weight infants; and by 92% among singleton births vs. 29% among multiple births. The changes were significant across all categories except among multiple births. Further stratification revealed that the cesarean delivery rate was 2.29 times higher in university teaching hospitals (UTHs) than in private hospitals (P<.001), and 2.31 times higher than in government hospitals (P<.001). Moreover, in UTHs, the rate was higher among normal birth weight infants (adjusted OR52.15) and singleton births (adjusted OR52.39). Conclusion: The rising cesarean delivery rate among births that may have been at low risk for cesarean delivery, particularly in UTHs, indicates that many cesarean deliveries may increasingly be performed without any medical indication. More vigilant monitoring of data from routine health information systems is needed to reduce unnecessary cesarean deliveries in apparently low-risk groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-209
Number of pages15
JournalGlobal health, science and practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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