Giving birth via C-section has become common among women, but the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Friday of the unwanted consequences of the procedure.

The United Nations agency said that medically unnecessary caesarian sections should not be performed because C-section birth can lead to short- and long-term health problems for both the mother and child. In a statement released on Friday, WHO discouraged resorting to C-sections unless deemed necessary due to fetal distress, prolonged labor and the abnormal position of the baby.

C-section is considered one of the most common surgeries done globally. The goal of this procedure is to safely deliver the baby if delivery through vaginal birth is not possible. WHO, however, said that the surgery is also linked with major complications, which include disability and death.

"Caesarean sections can cause significant and sometimes permanent complications, disability or death particularly in settings that lack the facilities and/or capacity to properly conduct safe surgery and treat surgical complications," WHO stated. "Caesarean sections should ideally only be undertaken when medically necessary."

The international healthcare community has long considered 10 to 15 percent as the ideal number of C-section births per country, but while the surgery can prevent maternal and child death and morbidity, no evidence can show the benefits of the procedure for women and their babies who do not need C-section.

When the rate of C-section in a country moves to 10 percent, mother and child mortality rate decreases, but there appears to have no effect on the rate of mother and child deaths once the rates go over 10 percent.

"These conclusions highlight the value of caesarean section in saving the lives of mothers and newborns," said Marleen Temmerman, director of WHO's Department of Reproductive Health and Research. "They also illustrate how important it is to ensure a caesarean section is provided to the women in need - and to not just focus on achieving any specific rate."

Besides the health problems associated with the procedure, the increased number of delivery via c-section may also overburden weak health systems.

As of 2013, 33 percent of the babies born in the U.S. were delivered via C-section, which is high compared to the ideal percentage of only 10 to 15 percent.

WHO recommended a standardized and internationally accepted way of classifying C-section births for a useful means of comparing the rates of the procedure worldwide.

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