The Health Ministry is moving to curb a surge in cesarean section births deemed riskier than natural childbirth. Through a series of incentives, the ministry will encourage natural birth both for pregnant women and obstetricians recommending it to pregnant women.
The ministry is mulling over four steps to encourage natural childbirth, and this covers mandatory insurance for natural childbirths that would cover any damages in lawsuits in case of a failed delivery and restrict promotions of junior doctors not delivering children naturally. The Social Security Agency will also pay hospitals more to cover natural childbirth expenses. For mothers, the ministry will run "pregnancy courses" at hospitals for expecting mothers about the benefits of natural childbirth.
Despite the state's campaigns to promote natural childbirth, C-sections are prevalent in private hospitals opting for it instead of costlier surgical procedures in natural childbirth. According to figures from the Health Ministry, one out of every two births was done by C-section last year, or roughly 52.5 percent of all births, up from 51.1 percent in 2014. C-section rates have gradually increased in recent years, accounting for more than half of all births in Turkey for the first time in 2013. Figures also reflect a significant increase in the number of C-sections performed on women birthing their first child - up to 26.8 percent last year compared to 26.8 percent in 2014. Private hospitals have the highest C-section rates, with 70 percent of surgical births occurring in private hospitals. These numbers are equally as high as the cost of the procedure itself, which is lucrative for private companies. Comparatively, C-section rates in public hospitals remained at 37 percent.
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