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Korean women give birth at later age, use more C-sections
  • By Marian Chu
  • Published 2018.01.22 18:05
  • Updated 2018.01.22 18:05
  • comments 0

Korean women are giving birth later in life, and more are using a surgical method to deliver their baby, according to a 2016 report from the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA) published last month.

The average age of women giving birth rose, with nearly 50 percent of the monitored subjects being in the 30 to 34 age group. The next most prominent demographic group is those 35 to 39 years old – accounting for around 23 percent – followed by 25 to 29-year-olds with 21 percent. Those in 20-24 group accounted for only about 5 percent of all women who gave birth.

Korea also ranked high among OECD countries for having a high Caesarean delivery rate of 38 cases per 100 births in 2014, according to the report. The OECD average stood at 26.6 cases per 100 people in the same year.

The rate of C-sections in Korea has been rising steadily while the percentage of natural deliveries has dropped, according to a report by the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service.

A Caesarean section is a surgical method of delivering babies when a vaginal delivery would put the baby or mother at risk. The mother is first put under anesthesia, upon which a doctor cuts around 15 cm around the mother’s lower abdomen to open the uterus with a second incision to deliver the baby. Doctors then stitch the incisions after delivery.

Data showed C-section deliveries accounted for around 42 percent of all births in 2016. The number of surgical deliveries rose from about 157,000 cases in 2006 to nearly 170,000 cases in 2016, indicating that the C-section rate in Korea rose 7 percent.

The number of children delivered naturally fell by nearly 20 percent within the same time span to account for around 231,000 cases in 2016.

By age group, C-sections were most common in those 45 years and older, and lowest in those 19 years and younger. The number of C-sections among women giving birth for the first time also rose by around 3 percent, the report showed.

By region, South Chungcheong Province had the highest C-section rate in 2016 with around 47 percent, followed by Gangwon Province (46.5 percent) and North Jeolla Province (46.2 percent). Seoul (41 percent), Incheon (39 percent), and Gwangju (33 percent) had the lower rates.

A total of 400,067 babies were born in 2016, indicating an 8.5 percent decline in the birthrate from 10 years ago. Medical institutions offering childbirth medical services also shrank by nearly 50 percent over a decade, with only around 600 facilities available in 2016.

yjc@docdocdoc.co.kr

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