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A quarter of births in Sussex hospitals are Caesareans
One in four births at hospital maternity units in Sussex are Caesareans.
New figures show 3,939 out of 15,015 deliveries in the county over a one year period were not natural births.
This is around the national average but hospitals are continuing to work to try and bring the number down.
Details published by the NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre, include both emergency and planned Caesareans.
Experts say arranged Caesareans are not simply down to people being considered “too posh to push”.
They can also include those who are unable to give birth naturally for medical reasons.
This includes those with diabetes, women carrying twins or triplets, or obese pregnant women at risk of developing complications when they go into labour.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust had a Caesarean rate of 28% out of 5,646 deliveries at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.
There were 5,424 deliveries at Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester between April 2012 and the end of March.
Lowest rate Caesareans were carried out on 1,398 of these, giving Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust a rate of just under 26%.
East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust had 3,945 births at its hospitals and the lowest Caesarean rate in the county – 24%.
Western Sussex was the only trust out of the three to show a slight drop in Caesareans compared to the year before.
Hospitals say they work hard to ensure all mums-to-be are supported to give birth in the way that is right for them and their babies.
A spokesman for Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals said: “As a specialist referral centre for high risk pregnancies, the trust regularly treats women who are more likely to require Caesarean sections, such as women in very premature labour, those who have had multiple pregnancies and those with major medical problems such as pre-eclampsia, renal and cardiac disease.
“Our maternity units have a similar proportion of Caesarean sections to other units with similar caseloads.
“We promote the benefits of a natural birth whenever possible and our new way of working in the community has seen an increase in women giving birth at home.”
Helping mothers have normal births where possible is a high priority for hospitals, as it means they are more mobile, can bond more quickly with their baby and are more likely to breastfeed.
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