The number of caesarean births has almost doubled in the last eight years in Bangladesh largely due to lack of accountability of profit-hungry private health care providers and absence of proper rules and regulations.
The figure rose to 690,000 or 23 percent of total deliveries last year from 355,000 or 9 percent of total deliveries in 2007, according to Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2014.
The World Health Organisation recommends that a country should keep births through caesarean section below 15 percent, as it is a major operation that carries risks and takes a lot longer for a patient to recover compared to a normal delivery.
Some doctors claim that many expectant mothers prefer C-section to normal delivery, but many experts blame the rise in C-section on private health care providers.
"Patients want a lower risk procedure. They also don't want to withstand labor pain," said a gynecologist at a private hospital in the capital, seeking anonymity.
However, Dina Farhana, nutritionist of a Dhaka-based NGO, said C-section might be necessary in some cases, but the fact is private clinics and hospitals are largely responsible for the increase in caesarean births.
Child and women health expert Prof MQK Talukder said C-section is a life-saving option only in some complicated cases. It is unnecessary in many other cases.
Physicians sometimes don't want to wait for several hours to perform a normal delivery, and they opt for surgery, he said.
A private hospital in the capital charges a patient around 10,000 taka (US$128) on average for a normal delivery and up to 50,000 taka for a C-section.
A study on hospitals in 24 districts shows private hospitals performed more than double the C-sections done in public hospitals in 2012.
Low Partograph Use
The 2012 study found that private hospitals had used partograph, a graphical record of key data (maternal and fetal) during labor, only in 3 percent of total deliveries.