What is A C-Section? Caesarean vs Vaginal Delivery Statistics

Caesarean delivery statistics cesarean-vs-vaginal-delivery-statistics-australia

What is a Cesarean-Section Delivery?

C-section delivery – definition

A C-section (Cesarean-section – USA or Caesarean-section – UK/AUS) is the delivery of a baby by a Surgeon or Doctor. The Surgeon makes an incision in the abdomen and uterus of the mother to enable extraction of the baby from the womb. Cesarean-sections are commonly called C-sections and are performed in pregnancies where the health of the baby and/or mother is at risk. Indications for Cesarean section are listed below. Cesarean section deliveries are sometimes scheduled in advance. However, they are often performed as an Emergency Cesarean/Unplanned C-Section in response to an unforeseen complication that occurs during an attempted vaginal delivery. The World Health Organisation indicates that medically required cesarean/caesarean deliveries should comprise about 15% of all deliveries, but medical surgical statistics indicate C-Sections are on the rise in many developed countries and in private hospitals, with up to 1 in 3 pregnancies involving a cesarean-vs-vaginal delivery.

There are two primary types of Cesarean-Section Deliveries:

  • Planned and scheduled C-Sections, usually scheduled for around 39-40 weeks of gestation (average).
  • Unplanned or Emergency C-Section procedures


Recovery after C-Section: Recommended reading

Definition of VBAC

  • A vaginal birth after a cesarean delivery for a prior pregnancy.
  • Also known as attempted vaginal delivery after a c-section.

What is the success rate of VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean delivery)?

  • Although many women would like to attempt a vaginal delivery after a C-section, only about 15% tend to do so.
  • Of these women, 6 to 8 in 10 are able to give birth vaginally and 20% to 40% may require a repeat or unplanned C-section.
  • Further reading: Successful VBAC after two C-Sections

Australia C-Section Statistics and Increase in Caesarean Deliveries from Health.gov.au

Pregnancy C-Section Surgery Growth Statistics in Australia

Source: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/pacd-maternityservicesplan-toc~pacd-maternityservicesplan-chapter2

  • Growth of C-section deliveries vs vaginal deliveries in Australia grew most significantly from 1998 to 2009, where they have levelled off at approximately 1 in 3 pregnancies/deliveries.
  • There was a significant difference in the number of Caesarean section being performed in Private vs Public hospitals.

Caesarean Deliveries:  Private vs Public Hospitals (Australia Statistics)



Cesarean vs Vaginal Deliveries Statistics:  Queensland – rates grew from 24% to over 33% per study published in 2009.

USA C-Section Statistics:

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control – 2015 Data

Cesarean vs Vaginal Deliveries Statistics:  32% C-Section vs 68% Vaginal Delivery (nearly 1 in 3 pregnancies)

WHO – World Health Organisation’s Information on Cesarean/Caesarean deliveries and increasing C-Section numbers in developed countries.

Further Scientific references and Medical Indications/Surgery recommended reading on C-section vs Vaginal delivery statistics and safety:

Read our BLOG on C-section scars – send an enquiry to be kept up to date on e-news and Plastic Surgery blog publications.




Cesarean Birth Videos – Caesarean vs Vaginal Delivery (Education Videos)

  • Differences in vaginal vs cesarean-section deliveries can be seen in educational videos (source: Nucleus Medical Media – Medical Media Videos/YouTube Channel).
  • Our recommended Video selections from Nucleus Medical Media for explanations and visual demonstrations of Cesarean-Section Delivery vs Vaginal Canal Delivery methods are:

Watch a Medical Video on C-Section/Cesarean Surgery for a Caesarean Delivery

Watch a Medical Education Video on a Vaginal Delivery


Contact us to keep abreast of our ENEWSLETTERS about the latest advances in Post-Pregnancy Surgery and Plastic Surgery.

skin stretch, stretch marks skin.

Common Questions about Cesarean-Section Deliveries and C-Section Scars

“Can I attempt a vaginal delivery after a C-Section or multiple Cesarean/Caesarean deliveries?”

  • Many women DO have successful vaginal deliveries after having a C-section delivery; but it’s important to understand the potentially increased risks and consequences.
  • These risks of having a vaginal delivery after a C-section lead many women to have subsequent Cesarean deliveries of additional children/further pregnancies.
  • In many studies about preferences and attempted vaginal deliveries after a cesarean, roughly half of polled women PREFERRED to attempt a vaginal delivery after giving birth via a C-section/Cesarean delivery or deliveries, however, most women had a repeat C-section for their second or third deliveries/birth experiences due to risks.
  • Mayo Clinic’s information on vaginal delivery vs caesarean delivery after a primary C-section delivery.
  • Systematic reviews of clinical studies of pregnancies involving TWINS did not show strong evidence in support of planned C-sections although a percentage of women who planned a vaginal birth did go on to have a cesarean delivery of at least one twin.
  • In an Australian study on Breech pregnancies and c-section delivery methods, 45% of women who planned/attempted a vaginal delivery did end up having a cesarean section.

“What are the risks or concerns about attempted vaginal deliveries after Cesarean deliveries?”

  • The main complication of concern after a C-section, if you’re planning on attempting a vaginal delivery, is potential rupture of the uterus.
  • In an Australian publication of delivery methods (vaginal vs caesarean), the similarity between first child birth methods and second child birth methods was about 85% (meaning you are likely to give birth the same way for future pregnancies as you did in your first pregnancy). This can vary, however, and a number of women who had a prior C-section DO go on to have vaginal delivery of future child or children.
  • Other complications and risks can be found in the Pregnancy Educational Source links below.

“Does having twins mean you have a higher risk of needing a C-section (Caesarean delivery)?”

  • Yes, but not always.
  • Many women DO successfully give birth to twins using vaginal delivery methods; but in some cases, C-section delivery is pre-scheduled for either cautionary reasons and medical reasons if the delivering Doctor has concerns about the mother’s health or the well-being of the twins.

Twin Pregnancies (multiparous) – Preplanned cesarean deliveries vs emergency or unplanned cesarean sections:

  • In a review of studies about C-sections in twin pregnancies, women who had twins who planned for a vaginal delivery ended up with C-section delivery of at least one twin in 42.9% of cases.
  • That means that for planned vaginal deliveries of twins, just under 6 in 10 women gave birth without requiring a C-section.
  • This research information may be potentially biased in terms of population demographics and pregnancy outcomes.

Having Twins? You might need a C-section – but you might not!



Recommended reading/medical resources and Sources for this article.

What pregnancy does to your breast and tummy skin: C-Section Scars and Stretch Marks

Stretch or Sag? Pregnancy’s Effect on Breast Tissues and Tummy Skin

Complication Risks of Attempted Vaginal Delivery after C-Section/Caesarean Delivery

Delivery Options for Second pregnancy following Caesarean-Section Delivery in First pregnancy





If you have a C-section, can anything be done about the scar?

  • It depends on numerous factors.
  • Sometimes treatments for a fresh c-section scar (not a mature scar) can help reduce the risks of keloid scar formation or reduce the scar’s pigmentation formation.
  • Treatments might include silicone strips, skin needling with SkinPen or DermaPen, Fraxel Laser treatments or other advanced non-surgical techniques.
  • For non-surgical options, ask for an appointment at Coco Ruby Skin & Anti-ageing to assess what your options are (fresh scars only).
  • For mature scars and excess belly skin, a Tummy Tuck might be able to help depending on where the scar is located and what the skin condition is.
  • Abdominoplasty CANNOT help you with stretch marks per se, but the REDUCED skin volume and reduced SKIN APRON – plus skin tightening effects of that skin reduction and body contouring – can give you a smoother, less-crepey looking belly area (but you’ll still have stretch marks although less skin, and less crinkling of the skin, in that area, plus a flatter looking belly or more defined waistline contours.

Tummy Tuck Melbourne

Read our NEXT blog on C-Section Scars from Caesarean deliveries and recommended treatments to reduce keloid formation.

This blog is due for publication on 12 September 2018.

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