The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revised rules guiding the care of women during childbirth to ensure that their babies are not delivered through Caesarean sections unnecessarily.
In a report, the UN agency said current rules allowed medical practitioners to use other interventions, including Caesarean sections that could have been avoided.
The 56 recommendations of the report titled 'Intrapartum Care for a Positive Childbirth Experience' call for elimination of the one centimetre-per-hour benchmark for cervical dilation.
Since the 1950s, progressing through labour at a rate slower than one centimetre of cervical dilation per hour has been considered abnormal.
In most cases, other alternatives are used, including C-section. Sometimes, doctors would use drugs to speed up labour.
The guidelines emphasise evidence-based recommendations on the care needed throughout labour, and for the woman and her baby after delivery. Twenty-six of these are new recommendations and 30 are integrated from existing WHO guidelines.
In Kenya, Caesarean sections seem to be winning over natural deliveries effortlessly.
The National Hospital Insurance Fund is reportedly paying more than Sh1 billion for the surgical procedure in a year.
Records show that 24,492 mothers opted for C-section deliveries in the first half of 2016, and the national insurer paid Sh714 million.