Within just twenty years, caesarean section rates have more than doubled in most industrial nations. We look at the medical and social consequences of this global trend in Germany, France, Brazil and China.

Within just twenty years, the number of caesarean sections performed in industrial nations has more than doubled. Caesareans undoubtedly save lives. But in some countries, more children are born by c-section than vaginal delivery – a development that can have consequences. Caesarean sections have always posed a high risk for mothers. But recent research now reveals they can also be the cause of various illnesses in the child, such as type 1 diabetes, asthma and allergies. At the same time, the theory that exposure to different germs during a natural birth can help prevent diseases is becoming more widely accepted. Nevertheless, in Brazil, for example, more children are born surgically than by vaginal delivery, many by so-called caesarean delivery by maternal request. In China too, many women choose to have a c-section – although for a different reason. Here, superstition is still widespread, so parents choose what they hope will be a favourable date for the birth of their child. This film takes a look at reasons behind the different c-section rates in the neighbouring countries of Germany and France as much as in China and Brazil.