More Indian women opting for delivery through Caesarean (C-section) and less numbers getting direct exposure to sunlight can have a long-term adverse effect on their overall reproductive health, according to Human M. Fatemi, Senior Consultant Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine. As per Fatemi, a recognised subspecialist in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery by the European Society of Human Reproduction (ESHRE) and European Board and College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (EBCOG), the growing number of C-sections is becoming a cause of concern amongst gynecologists too.  

C-section rate jumps at private centres

The 5 th National Family Health Survey revealed that the national C-section rate is 21.5 per cent. This is nearly double that of World Health Organization’s (WHO) ideal of 10-15 per cent. But the major concern is that this rate jumps to 47.4 per cent when it comes to private centres. This unambiguous rise in C-sections and the difference between the same procedures in government run hospitals versus private hospitals may have serious implications for women’s health, their future fertility, ability to bear children in future and the likelihood of a live birth, all are at risk,” Fatemi said.  

Published evidence suggests that a C-section has harmful effects on subsequent pregnancy and birth rates. Those who deliver their first child by C-section are less likely to conceive a second child than those who deliver vaginally. The most important point is not about the choice to have a second or subsequent child but the ability to do so, he says .  

Lack of sunlight exposure

Meanwhile, Fatemi also said there is a definitive association between vitamin D levels in women and their ovarian reserves. Adequate levels of Vitamin D are associated with a higher likelihood of healthy pregnancy with a four-times higher probability of successful IVF pregnancy, than those with low vitamin levels. Equally important is that pregnant women with higher levels of Vitamin D, had higher live birth rates than those with lower levels of Vitamin D.  

“As part of the basic fertility assessment, blood tests are taken to measure Vitamin D concentration and transvaginal ultrasound scans are performed on day 2-5 of the cycle to determine Antral Follicle Count (AFC). In humans, exposure of the skin to sunlight is the main and critically important source of vitamin D,” he added.  

“It is our choice of lifestyle, from the clothes that we wear to the skin lotions that we use that give us lower exposure to natural sunlight. This choice may be a cause of our lower levels of Vitamin D and may unknowingly be preventing us from getting the other associated health benefits of direct exposure to sunlight,” he further said.