Objective: To determine trends in induction of labour-, instrumental vaginal delivery- and caesarean section rates in the Netherlands in the period 1993-2002.
Study design: Data derived from The Netherlands Perinatal Registry and Statistics Netherlands were used to calculate annual rates for induction of labour, instrumental vaginal delivery and caesarean section. Regarding caesarean section, rates were also calculated for different subgroups with respect to parity, presentation of the fetus, gestational age and multiple pregnancies. In the subgroup of women with a singleton fetus in vertex presentation between 37 and 42 weeks of gestation instrumental delivery rates were compared for women with induced labours and women in spontaneous labour.
Results: The overall CS rate rose from 8.1 to 13.6%. Proportionally the rise was greatest for breech presentation (+37.7%), multiple gestations (+12.7%) and women delivering between 24 and 28 weeks (+9.5%). However, in absolute numbers the rise was most impressive in the group of women with a singleton fetus in vertex presentation between 37 and 42 weeks of gestation. Rate of induction of labour and instrumental vaginal delivery remained constant (approximately 15% respectively 10% of all deliveries). In nulliparous term women with singletons in vertex presentation the CS rate increased with 8.0% to a rate of 20.7% when labour was induced versus an increase of 3.4% to a rate of 7.5% in spontaneous labour.
Conclusion: In absolute numbers the rise in CS was most extensive in the group of women with a singleton fetus in vertex presentation between 37 and 42 weeks of gestation. Induction of labour rates and instrumental vaginal delivery rates remained constant during the past decade.