Phenotypes and markers of cesarean delivery among Colombian women

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2019 Nov;147(2):187-194. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.12942. Epub 2019 Sep 2.


Objective: To investigate the association of socioeconomic status (SES) components (education, occupation, and household wealth) with number (1 or ≥2) and timing (planned/emergency) of cesarean delivery (CD) in Colombia, rates of which are well above the levels recommended by the World Health Organization.

Methods: A cross-sectional study using the 2015 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) of Colombia was carried out; 38 718 women answered the woman only module. Binomial and multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted to generate estimates of the association between markers of SES and likelihood of CD, timing of CD, and number of CDs.

Results: The analysis included 9977 women. Although education and wealth were strongly associated with CD (P<0.001), the association between occupation and CD suggested that women in agriculture were the least likely to experience CD (odds ratio [OR] 0.67, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.44-1.03, P=0.061); and women in the "poorer" household wealth category were more likely to have emergency (OR 1.57, CI 1.29-1.90, P<0.001) and two or more (OR 1.64, CI 1.29-2.40, P<0.001) CDs.

Conclusion: Markers of SES are associated with CD overuse in Colombia, as well as the number and timing of CD. More robust qualitative inquiry including additional questions to the DHS survey are needed to elucidate reasons driving the overutilization of CD in the country, particularly among vulnerable populations.

Keywords: C-section; Cesarean delivery; Childbirth; Colombia; Demographic and health surveys; Obstetric practices; Reproductive health disparities.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data*
  • Colombia / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Odds Ratio
  • Phenotype
  • Pregnancy
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Unnecessary Procedures / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult