Cyprus has the highest rate of caesarean deliveries among 31 European countries with 56.9% of live and still births, according to the third European perinatal health report.
This is more than double the European average of 27%. One in four European countries are below 21%. Iceland, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands have the lowest ratios at below 18%.
In contrast, in Italy, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus, C-sections account for more than 35% of deliveries.
The European perinatal health report is produced as part of the Euro-Peristat network which aspires to offer high quality perinatal data.
Launched in 1999 as part of an EU health monitoring scheme, Euro-Peristat now has representation from 31 countries in Europe and a large network of experts, the Health Ministry’s health monitoring unit said.
It said that in 2015, 56.9% of deliveries in Cyprus were by C-section. Of these 40.5% were by maternal request or because the onset of labour failed to progress. The remaining 16.4% were emergency C-sections.
The number of scheduled C-sections ranged from 3.6% in Romania to 40.5% in Cyprus. Emergency C-sections ranged from 8.7% in the Czech republic and Netherlands to 43.3% in Romania.
The figures for 2015 are based on all births following at least 22 weeks of pregnancy in all hospitals and clinics in the areas controlled by the Republic of Cyprus irrespective of the permanent residence or country of origin of the mother.
There were a total of 9,425 births (of which 31 were stillbirths). The mortality rate after 24 or more weeks of pregnancy in Cyprus in 2015 was 1.8 per 1000 total births, while the mortality rate after 28 or more weeks of pregnancy was 1.4 per 1000.
This was one of the lowest mortality rates in Europe. The other countries with the lowest mortality rates were Iceland, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands.
As regards multiple births, these ranged from 15 per 1000 women with live or still births in Romania, Slovakia, Poland, Finland, Lithuania, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic to more than 20 per 1000 in Cyprus (26.9/1000) and Spain (22.4/1000).
Cyprus had the highest rate of twins (26/1000) and triplets 0.9/1000.
Age of mothers
In 2015, the percentage of mothers under 20 years of age ranged from 0.8% in Switzerland to 10.2% in Bulgaria. In Cyprus the figure stood at 1.4%.
As regards women aged over 35, figures ranged from 14% in Bulgaria, Poland and Romania to 37.3% in Spain. In Cyprus, the figure stood at 21.4%.