About one-third of pregnant women in Korea choose to give birth by Caesarean section, according to a report by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs on Sunday.
The institute carried out a survey on 950 pregnant women aged between 15 and 44 last year and 326, or 34.3 percent, replied that they had a C-section. The most common reason for choosing this method of delivery (22.3 percent) was fear of the complications that can result from the mother's pelvis not being wide enough to accommodate the baby's head. This is known as cephalopelvic disproportion.
The figure is more than double the World Health Organization's recommended level, which stands at below 15 percent, and nearly 10 percentage points higher than the OECD average of 25.8 percent.
According to OECD statistics, Korea saw the sixth-highest number of C-sections among its 36 member states in 2011.
"Pregnant mothers in Korea are excessively wary of possible accidents occurring during natural childbirths," said a staffer at the Korean Medical Association, adding that some unscrupulous obstetrics clinics urge them to have a C-section as performing the operation is more profitable than a natural delivery.