KLI Colloquia are informal, public talks that are followed by extensive dissussions. Speakers are KLI fellows or visiting researchers who are interested in presenting their work to an interdisciplinary audience and discussing it in a wider research context. We offer three types of talks:

1. Current Research Talks. KLI fellows or visiting researchers present and discuss their most recent research with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

2. Future Research Talks. Visiting researchers present and discuss future projects and ideas togehter with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

3. Professional Developmental Talks. Experts about research grants and applications at the Austrian and European levels present career opportunities and strategies to late-PhD and post-doctoral researchers.

  • The presentation language is English.
  • If you are interested in presenting your current or future work at the KLI, please contact the Scientific Director or the Executive Manager.

Event Details

Barbara Fischer
Current Research Talk
The Influence of Demography and Evolution on Caesarean Section Rates
2019-10-29 15:00 - 2019-10-29 16:30
Organized by KLI

Topic description / abstract:

Caesarean section rates have been rising in most middle and high-income countries worldwide. The World Health Organization advises against overuse of C-sections, and recommends a population-wide C-section rate of 10-15% as optimal. There is broad agreement that the recent steep increase in C-section rates, to levels of 50% in some countries and higher, is largely due to non-medical drivers. However, trends in the maternal population that might contribute to the increase have been largely ignored when evaluating C-section use. Here I present evidence for an evolutionary and a demographic effect that contribute to increasing C-section rates. I show results from a mathematical model and from a population-based study using 24 years of individual-level data from Austria. Based on these findings, I argue that health politicians and managers must keep in mind that the maternal population is not static when aiming at reducing unnecessary C-section use.


Biographical note:

Barbara Fischer is a postdoctoral fellow at the KLI and lecturer at the University of Vienna. She is an evolutionary biologist with a background in mathematics. Her main research interest is the evolution of human childbirth and pelvic morphology. She studied biology and mathematics at the University of Vienna, Austria and at University College Cork, Ireland, and completed her PhD in theoretical biology at the University of Berne, Switzerland. As a PhD student, she was also a research assistant at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg. She subsequently worked as a post-doc at the University of Oslo, Norway, on topics in evolutionary theory. Beyond her research, she writes popular science articles for a general audience and has published a textbook for high school biology.