Cesarean birth - What's in a name?

Ni L, Elsaharty A (OB Clinical Fellow), McConachie I. Int J Obstet Anesth. 2017 Sep 28. pii: S0959-289X(17)30269-8.[Epub ahead of print]


Cesarean birth is known as both cesarean section (CS) or cesarean delivery (CD). The International Journal of Obstetric Anesthesia (IJOA) is the leading obstetric anesthesia journal, and a barometer of attitudes within the profession. The journal recently published the hundredth issue, spanning 25 years (to December 2016). It is an opportune time to examine the evolution of surgical birth terminology (CS versus CD) during that period.

We examined 1583 articles in IJOA, subdividing them into editorials, papers, review articles, debates and case reports. We searched for the terms CS, CD, neither or both; and examined the geographical origin of the articles, dividing them into "North America", Europe" and "Rest of the World".

There has been a change in terminology from CS towards CD - mainly from the mid-2000s onwards. Cesarean delivery was predominantly used in North American publications, while CS was predominantly favoured in European publications. It is possible that some of these trends represent policies of journal reviewers, although this does not explain all geographical differences.

The term CS may represent tautology as the Latin roots of "cesarean" and "section" both refer to cutting. This would suggest CD to be the preferred terminology. Cesarean delivery also aligns with other terminology, for example vaginal and forceps delivery. A consistent approach would improve clarity.

Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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