Trends and predictors of cesarean birth in Singapore, 2005-2014: A population-based cohort study

Birth. 2018 Dec;45(4):399-408. doi: 10.1111/birt.12341. Epub 2018 Feb 17.


Background: Rates of cesarean birth have continued to rise in many high-income countries. We examined the temporal trends and predictors of cesarean birth in Singapore.

Methods: Linked hospitalization and Birth Registry data were used to examine all live births to Singaporean citizens and permanent residents between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2014 (n = 342 932 births). We calculated cesarean rates and age-adjusted average annual percent change (AAPC) in those rates and used sequential multivariable regression modeling to assess the contribution of changes in predictors to the change in cesarean rates over time.

Results: The overall cesarean rate in Singapore rose from 32.2% in 2005 to 37.4% in 2014. Among singleton, cephalic, term pregnancies, the two major predictions of cesarean were nulliparity and previous cesarean, each accounting for just over one-third of all cesareans. Higher AAPC was observed in nulliparous women of Indian ethnicity (0.74% [95% confidence interval 0.68-0.80]) compared with Chinese (0.62% [0.60-0.65]) or Malay women (0.63% [0.59-0.68]), and in women who delivered in private hospitals (0.62% [0.60-0.64]) compared with those delivered under subsidized care in public hospitals (0.58% [0.52-0.63]). Parity and education had the largest influences on cesarean birth trend (attenuation of AAPC from 0.62% [0.59-0.66] to 0.39% [0.38-0.40] after adjustment).

Conclusion: Cesarean birth has continued to rise at a steady rate in Singapore. Strategies to curb this temporal increase include avoidance of medically unnecessary primary cesarean and attempts at trial of labor and vaginal delivery among women with a history of prior cesarean.

Keywords: Singapore; age-adjusted average annual percent change; cesarean birth.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cesarean Section / trends*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Parity*
  • Population
  • Pregnancy
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Singapore / epidemiology
  • Young Adult