In Germany, more and more children are being born by caesarean section: in 2021 it was almost 31 percent nationwide, and in Saarland the proportion was even 36 percent. At the same time, the number of clinics that carry out deliveries at all is falling.
Almost every third birth in a hospital in 2021 was by Caesarean section. The share increased slightly by 1.2 percentage points to 30.9 percent compared to the previous year, as reported by the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden. The proportion of surgical interventions has doubled over the past 30 years. In 1991, 15.3 percent of women gave birth to their child by caesarean section.
The statistics also show clear regional differences: The highest proportion of deliveries by caesarean section was in Saarland at 36.4 percent. Hamburg followed with a share of 34.3 percent. At 26.1 percent, Saxony had the lowest caesarean section rate, followed by Brandenburg at 27.4 percent.
Experts have been discussing how the caesarean section rate can be reduced for years. According to professional associations, 90 percent of surgical procedures are not medically necessary. But although there have been new guidelines from the German Society for Gynecology and Obstetrics since 2020, which are intended to make it easier for doctors to make recommendations for or against a natural birth, the number of caesarean sections has continued to rise.
A total of around 780,000 children were born in hospital nationwide in 2021, including twins and multiple births - 2.8 percent more than in the previous year. 62.5 percent of women gave birth naturally in hospital. A suction cup was used in 6.3 percent of deliveries, and forceps in 0.2 percent.
At the same time, however, fewer and fewer hospitals are offering obstetrics at all, as the Federal Office announced. Only 32.4 percent of the 1,887 hospitals in Germany were carrying out deliveries in 2021. In 1991 it was still 49.2 percent of a total of 2,411 hospitals at that time.