Experts have warned that a high frequency of caesarean sections (c-sections) means young physicians are becoming experts in the surgery while losing confidence in their abilities to assist in vaginal births.
The warning comes as new data shows the number of infants born through c-section globally almost doubled between 2000 and 2015.
According to research published in the Lancet, which included data from 169 countries, c-section use increased by 3.7 per cent each year between 2000 and 2015, rising from 12 per cent of live births in 2000 to 21 per cent in 2015.
C-section use was up to 10 times more frequent in Latin America and the Caribbean (44.3%), than in west and central Africa (4.1%) in 2015. It was almost five times more frequent in births in the richest versus poorest quintiles in low-income and middle-income countries, and 1.6 times more frequent in private versus public facilities.
The authors said the high frequency of c-sections is of concern to medical education and said staff must be supported to develop the skills to provide quality care for both uncomplicated birth and emergency care. They also reiterated that healthcare professionals should only intervene when it is medically required.