This week saw the annual publication of England's maternity data by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, and as always, the cesarean rate made headlines - for example, Caesarean sections now account for a QUARTER of all births - and older mothers are the reason why.
But for anyone interested in maternity care outcomes beyond the 'controversial c-section', there were far more concerning rate increases to be found in the HSCIC's NHS Maternity Statistics, 2011-12.
Yes, the cesarean rate saw an increase of 0.1% to 25% in total (10.2% elective and 14.8% emergency), but the INSTRUMENTAL DELIVERY rate (that's forceps and ventouse - both of which are associated with increased risks for adverse outcomes) had an increase of 0.4%, to 13% of all births.
Also, EPISIOTOMIES showed an increase of 0.4% to 15.2% of all 668,936 births.
Did these 'normal' adverse outcomes receive anywhere near the interest that cesareans did? Yet these are outcomes that many women want to AVOID and some women FEAR.
I think that by focussing on what's most controversial and newsworthy, we're in danger of completely missing the real issue - the health and safety of mothers and babies.