Caesareans are much more common for middle class mums than those less wealthy, according to new NHS figures.
Regionally, it was found that twice as many caesareans take place in South East England, West London and Surrey, compared to the Midlands and the North.
The overall caesarean rate is three times higher than 30 years ago. New figures released by the 2009/10 NHS Information Centre show that 25% of pregnant women had a c-section, compared to 9% in 1980.
Midwives have suggested the rise in caesareans has contributed to staff shortages. As we reported this week, many mums-to-be are requesting caesareans with their second child, after having a traumatic experience with their first labour.
Midwives say these experiences are a direct result of the lack of staff. This means some women are not given enough care and information during labour.
Just under 50% of caesareans last year were planned, with the majority of them carried out as an emergency.
Medical staff said the rise in complications is due to varying factors. Increasing numbers show new mums are older and more obese than previous years. There is an increase in older mums conceiving through IVF and having twins or triplets, which are often delivered via c-section.