Objective: To give a description of caesarean rates in France in 2010 using Robson classification, to assess practices according to the level of care of the maternity units.
Materials and methods: The study population was the sample of the French National Perinatal Survey in 2010 (n=14,165). Data were stratified by the level of care of the maternity unit (1, 2 or 3). Women were classified in 12 groups according to Robson classification, using maternal characteristics and obstetrical history. In each level of care, we calculated for each group, its relative size, its crude caesarean rate and its contribution to the overall caesarean rate.
Results: The overall rate of caesarean in 2010 in France was 20.8% in level 1, 21.1% in level 2 and 20.0% in level 3 maternity units. In the three levels, the main contributors to the overall caesarean rate were primiparous women in spontaneous labour (group 1; contribution: 3.5% in level 1 units, 2.2% in level 2 units, 2.7% in level 3 units) or with induced labour (group 2a; contribution: 2.9, 2.5 and 3.0%, respectively) and multiparous women with previous caesarean (group 5; contribution: 5.8, 5.3 and 6.0%, respectively). Premature singletons (group 10) contributed to 0.8% to the overall caesarean rate in level 1 units, 1.4% in level 2 units and 3.5% in level 3 units.
Conclusion: The Robson classification is easy to use. Each maternity unit can compare its rates with those of units with similar level, to find whether some groups of women have very high rates of caesarean sections.
Keywords: Caesarean; Classification de Robson; Césarienne; Epidemiology; Robson classification; Épidémiologie.
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