Hungary 'needs Caesarean debate'
( BBC ) Civic groups concerned about Hungary's high rate of births by Caesarean section have called a day of debate in Budapest and five other cities.
The rate of Caesareans has more than doubled in the past 12 years - from 14% in 1995, to the current rate of 29%.
Organisers of the day of action claim there are a growing number of doctors who have never seen a natural birth.
They have invited doctors, midwives, psychologists and mothers to take part in the debate.
While the trend is a global phenomenon, there are several explanations for the increase specific to central and Eastern Europe.
One is a strong authoritarian tradition in which patients rarely challenge a doctor's decision.
Another is that after one Caesarean, women are discouraged in most hospitals from attempting to give birth naturally to any further children.
As in other countries, a doctor's fear of litigation if something goes wrong in a vaginal birth, and a small but growing number of women who choose Caesareans, also affect the figures.
Hungarian Health Minister Agnes Horvath is on the side of the critics.
"In 2007, it's not acceptable that we have such a high level of Caesareans. It's not acceptable that we don't have clear standards for hospital comfort," she said.
"It's not acceptable that we don't have regulations for home births. So this what we are working on now."
One factor hindering an open discussion has been the refusal of hospitals in the past to publish their own statistics.
New regulations expected to come into force next year will make that compulsory.