More controls are needed to counter the rising number of caesarean births in Switzerland, the Swiss Midwives Association has said.
The rate of caesareans, which the association says are more risky than conventional methods, in 2007 rose to 32.2 per cent of births, compared with 22.7 per cent in 1998.
In other countries it is less than 20 per cent, the association said.
The midwives say there is no medical explanation for the increase and have called on the government, cantons and health insurers to carry out more checks on caesarean operations in hospitals to ensure there are no irregularities.
Doctors should only recommend a caesarean for medical reasons, as the operation confers more risk than a normal birth and has an impact on the health of the baby and the mother, the association advised.
Twice as many children born by caesarean are transferred to intensive care with breathing problems, compared with naturally born babies.
Twice as many mothers also have to return to hospital for treatment after a caesarean and many have problems breastfeeding, according to the association. They are also more likely to have serious complications in later pregnancies.