Caesarean section delivery in Kerala, India: evidence from a National Family Health Survey

Soc Sci Med. 2000 Aug;51(4):511-21. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(99)00491-8.


Ensuring safe pregnancy and motherhood occupies a pivotal role and has been considered as one of the key issues in the framework of reproductive and child health programmes. Evidence from research studies indicate that there is a growing tendency for caesarean section deliveries especially during complications confronted at the time of pregnancy and delivery. The present study focuses on the demographic, antenatal care, spatial and socio-economic variables associated with caesarean section delivery in Kerala, India. The data from the National Family Health Survey has been utilised for this purpose. The results from logistic regression models indicate that maternal age, birth order, current age, births in health institutions and spatial differences were significantly associated with caesarean section deliveries in Kerala. The older cohorts of mothers were found at higher risk to have caesarean section when compared to their younger counterparts. When controlled for demographic variables, the odds for caesarean section was about 1.7 times more likely to occur in private health institutions. The inclusion of spatial and socio-economic variables has neither influenced the demographic and antenatal care variables nor showed any significant association with caesarean section delivery in the state. The present study calls for that a detailed investigation on behavioural aspects of both the physician and the patient with regard to type of delivery in the state. Information related to pregnancy and health related aspects needs to be monitored more accurately, both in the public and private hospitals, to understand the determinants associated with caesarean section.

MeSH terms

  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data*
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Socioeconomic Factors