Rise in cesarean deliveries causes drop in rates of breastfeeding in first hour

In the recent study published by the WHO it was noticed that three in five – are not breastfed within the first hour of life. One of the reasons pointed out for the decrease in rates of early initiation of breastfeeding was rise in elective c-section deliveries.

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In the recent study published by the WHO it was noticed that three in five infants are not breastfed within the first hour of life. One of the reasons pointed out for the decrease in rates of early initiation of breastfeeding was rise in elective c-section deliveries.

A study across 51 countries by the WHO, notes that early initiation rates for breastfeeding are significantly lower among newborns delivered by cesarean section

In Egypt, cesarean section rates more than doubled between 2005 and 2014, increasing from 20% to 52%. During the same period, rates of early initiation of breastfeeding decreased from 40% to 27%. In Egypt, only 19% of babies born by C-section were breastfed in the first hour after birth, compared to 39% of babies born by natural delivery.

Dr Shilpa Naik, Gynaecologist at Sassoon General Hospital (SGH), said, “There is a rise in the C-section deliveries because there is a rise in complication during deliveries. We prioritise to initiate breastfeeding in the first hour itself. But in some complicated cases, it takes time for a mother to become awake from the anaesthesia. Also, the entire process of C—section takes time in complicated deliveries. In some cases, it takes more than the normal time for the surgery to get done after the baby is out.”

Earlier studies, cited in the report, show that newborns who began breastfeeding between two and 23 hours after birth had a 33% greater risk of dying compared with those who began breastfeeding within one hour of birth. Among newborns that started breastfeeding a day or more after birth, the risk was more than twice as high.

Feeding newborns food and drinks, including formula and gaps in the quality of care provided to newborns and mothers are the other reasons that cause lack of breastfeeding in the first hour after the birth of a baby.