Rate of caesarean births in China on par with rate in US, and lower than previously reported, new study shows

Just over one in three babies were born by C-section in China in 2014, researchers find, whereas earlier WHO study found nearly one in two were delivered that way; C-sections in biggest cities have fallen since 2008

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 January, 2017, 1:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 06 January, 2017, 1:00pm

The proportion of babies born by caesarean section in China was 34.9 per cent in 2014, according to a new study by New York University, substantially lower than the 46.2 per cent rate reported by the World Health Organisation in 2010.

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The new study found the Chinese rate to be comparable to the US rate (32.2 per cent) for the same year. There were large geographic variations in rates: in some Chinese “super cities”, well over half of all births were by caesarean section, while in some rural areas, rates were lower than 20 per cent.

In explaining the discrepancy between the WHO study and the new work, Dr Jan Blustein, professor of health policy and population health at NYU, noted that the WHO study drew on a small number of hospitals located mostly in cities, while the new study drew on births throughout China.

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While the NYU study generally showed a growth in caesarean births in China over time, it found a decrease in caesarean use over time in some of China’s biggest cities. For example, in Beijing the rate fell from 59.2 per cent in 2008 to 43.2 per cent in 2014, while in Shanghai it fell from 68 per cent to 52.4 per cent during the same period.

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These drops may reflect national and local policy efforts to reduce the caesarean rate, by providing training, resources, and financial incentives.

New apps designed to reduce depression and anxiety as easily as checking your phone

Researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago have developed a novel suite of 13 smartphone mini-apps that significantly reduce depression and anxiety in study participants who used the apps for up to four times a day. Called IntelliCare, the apps offer exercises to de-stress, reduce self-criticism and worrying, methods to help your life feel more meaningful, mantras to highlight your strengths, strategies for a good night’s sleep and more.

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The 96 participants who completed the eight-week research study reported that they experienced about a 50 per cent decrease in the severity of depressive and anxiety symptoms. The reductions over thsi short period of time are comparable to results expected in clinical practice using psychotherapy or with those seen from using antidepressant medication.

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The preliminary study did not include a control, so it’s possible that some people who enrolled in the trial would have improved anyway, partly because they may have been motivated to try something new, Mohr says. A larger trial, recruiting 300 participants, with a control arm, has been launched.

Download individual apps or the whole IntelliCare suite from the Google Play Store.