Maternal mortality after cesarean section in The Netherlands

Nico Schuitemaker, Jos van Roosmalen*, Guus Dekker, Pieter Van Dongen, Herman Van Geijn, Jack Bennebroek Gravenhorst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background. To assess cesarean section-related maternal mortality in The Netherlands during 1983-1992. Methods. A nationwide confidential enquiry into the causes of maternal death. Results. The risk of dying after vaginal birth was 0.04 per 1000 vaginal births (65/1.763.999) compared to 0.53 per 1000 cesarean births (57/108.587). The direct risk of dying from cesarean section was 0.13 per 1000 operations (14/108.587). In some women cesarean section did not initiate, but contributed to, the train of events leading to death. Adding this associated risk to the direct risk gives a fatality rate of 0.28 per 1000 cesarean births (30/108.587). Conclusions. Although cesarean section is a relatively safe procedure nowadays, birth by cesarean section in The Netherlands is seven limes more hazardous than vaginal birth. Keeping the cesarean birth rate as low as possible is therefore in the interest of women of reproductive age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-334
Number of pages3
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1997

Bibliographical note

First published 'online': 12 April 2011


  • Cesarean section-related mortality
  • Confidential enquiry
  • Maternal mortality
  • The Netherlands


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