Caesarean section rates continue to increase worldwide. The appropriate caesarean section rate remains a topic of debate among women and professionals. Evidence-based medicine has not provided an answer and depends on interpretation of the literature. Overall caesarean section rates are unhelpful, and caesarean section rates should not be judged in isolation from other outcomes and epidemiological characteristics. Better understanding of caesarean section rates, their consequences and their benefits will improve care, and enable learning between delivery units nationally and internationally. To achieve and maintain an appropriate caesarean section rate requires a Multidisciplinary Quality Assurance Programme in each delivery unit, recognising caesarean section rates as one of many factors that determine quality. Women will always choose the type of delivery that seems safest to them and their babies. Professionals need to monitor the quality of their practice continuously in a standardised way to ensure that women can make the right choice.
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