More caesarian deliveries are carried out in private hospitals than public hospitals in the city, data of last three years provided by BMC show. Last year, caesarian delivery rate in private hospitals was 37.81%, while in civic hospitals it was 19.77 %.
Dr Rajshri Katke, medical superintendent, Cama and Albless Hospital, state-run maternity hospital at Fort, said: "A caesarian delivery should be undertaken only if there is a proven need for it. Here we encourage normal delivery unless there is some complications that will harm the mother or the child, or if the mother already has had C-section."
According to the health department data, the number of deliveries in civic-run hospitals and private hospitals are almost the same. However, the percentage of C-section remains higher in private hospitals.
Dr Niranjan Chavan, professor, gynaecology department, LTMG Sion hospital, one of the three tertiary care hospitals run by BMC, said: "In private hospitals, doctor-patient ratio is 1:1, and there is better care. Any complication is picked up fast. It has also been observed that doctors in private hospitals are very careful with their patients and don't want to take any risk."
Giving an example, Dr Chavan said in the case of a mild meconium-stained liquor, a fetal distress, a doctor in a public hospital would still take a chance, while in a private hospital, the doctor would opt for C-section.
"People going to private hospitals are very sensitive to pain, and the threshold of tolerance is less, and doctors don't want to take any chance," said Dr Chavan.
Agreeing with Dr Chavan, Dr Kiran Coelho, gynaecologist at Lilavati Hospital-Bandra, said: "Perinatal morbidity rate—affecting life of mother and child during pregnancy and/or the infant during first four weeks of life—is the valuation of obsetric cases which is always better in the private sector. Doctors in private sector are very careful and don't ignore even a small complication. There are many factors, like late marriages, increased infertility rate, etc that have contributed to the rise in C-section in private hospitals."
According to World Health Organisation guidelines, only 10-15% of births require surgical intervention in India. But many disagree with these guidelines as some gynaecologists believe several complications can arise during pregnancy which cannot be predetermined, and hence fixing a number would be difficult.
According to a study published in National Journal of Community Medicine, reasons that affect the rate of caesarean deliveries in India vary from psychological, the medical institution in question and socio-demographic factors.