Swiss Caesarean births still among highest in Europe

C-section birth rates vary widely across Europe, and even within Switzerland. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

Nearly a third of all births in Switzerland are Caesarean sections, one of the highest rates in Europe, according to the latest data published by the Swiss Health Observatory.

This content was published on April 12, 2023

The figures published at the beginning of April also show that C-section births are more frequent in German-speaking Switzerland than French-speaking Switzerland. For example, the lowest rate is 25% in the rural French-speaking canton of Jura, while the highest (41.7%) is in Zug, which is in German-speaking Switzerland and is also one of the richest cantons.  

+ Read more about Switzerland’s high rate of Caesarean birthsExternal link

For some years now, hospitals have been working to reduce the number of C-section births that are not strictly necessary for medical reasons, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, Switzerland’s 32.8% rate in 2021 compares with only 20% in France, for example. The WHO puts the average rate in EuropeExternal link at 25.7 in 2018.

The big difference between the Swiss regions can be explained by a more intense change of culture in the French-speaking part of the country, cantonal doctor Eric Masserey told public broadcaster RTS in an interview on Wednesday. "It can be the consequence of different training, so it's a form of culture and practice that can vary from one side of the country other,” he said.

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