It is estimated that the operation - a vital surgical procedure when complications occur during birth - is necessary 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the time.
There is an urgent need for intervention in the medical field to reduce the use of cesarean sections, the researchers said. However most countries used C-section above the recommended level (63%, 106/169 countries).
The number of C-section births around the world has almost doubled since 2000, and only a fraction of those surgical procedures are medically necessary, according to a series of three papers published today by an global coalition of researchers from the World Health Organization, Yale University, King's College London and elsewhere.
More and more women in the world have children, not naturally, but resorting to surgery.
Dominican Republic had the highest proportion (58.1 per cent), followed by Brazil and Egypt (both 55.5 per cent), and Turkey (53.1 per cent).
Improvements have been slow across sub-Saharan Africa (around 2% per year), where C-section use has remained low, increasing from 3% to 4.1% of births in West and Central Africa, and from 4.6% to 6.2% in Eastern and Southern Africa. The increase in the number of such operations, doctors stress, is associated with many factors, particularly income and education women. The situation has led gynecologists to question this "epidemic", as reported in a report published Friday in the British scientific journal The Lancet.
However women in some parts of the world increasingly request C-sections for other reasons, including prior negative experiences with natural births, a fear of labor pain or damage to their bodies, or concerns about future sexual function.
"C-section is a type of major surgery, which carries risks that require careful consideration".
'In many of those countries, however, richer women who live in urban areas, have access to private facilities have much higher C-section use'. "While the long-term risks of this are not well-researched, the short-term effects include changes in immune development which can increase the risk of allergies and asthma and alter the bacteria in the gut". "C-section is associated with an increased risk of uterine rupture, abnormal placentation, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, and preterm birth", one study said. Further, WHO also created recommendations for reducing unnecessary c-sections.
The uptick in C-sections - and the persistent disparities in where they're performed - points to two connected trends, the authors write.
Prof Sandall says that reasons vary from country to country and that with poorer nations, choices are extremely limited. The wealthiest women were six times more likely to have a C-section compared with the poorest women, and C-section was 1.6 times more common in private facilities than public facilities.
"In China, a shortage of midwives can result in a lack of screening, meaning not only that necessary medical checks are not being carried out, but that there is a lack of expert help with assisting childbirth".
Drawing on World Health Organization and UNICEF data from 169 countries, the research uncovered large discrepancies between geographical regions, with 60 percent of countries overusing C-sections and 25 percent under-using them.
"The issue for women is how do you plan?"
The World Congress of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) advocates several measures to limit the abuse of caesareans: to apply a single rate for births, by caesarean section or not, to force hospitals to publish their statistics, to better inform women of the risks and improve training in natural birth.