Women who have a Caesarean section are at higher risk of womb damage during a later vaginal delivery, new research has revealed.
A torn womb affects nine in 1,000 women who have previously had a C-section, according to the research by UK and Swedish scientists.
However, the risk was reduced to 0.18 per 1,000 for women who had not had a Caesarean.
A torn womb is a life-threatening situation for both mother and baby and 51 in every 1,000 babies in the high-risk category die each year.
Though women in the high-risk group are generally offered a Caesarean section for a second time, about a third have a preference for a vaginal delivery.
Mervi Jokinen, of the Royal College of Midwives, told the BBC: "We believe the Caesarean rate should be between 10 per cent and 15 per cent, but at present it is 23 per cent in the UK," she said.
"We should be asking ourselves why the Caesarean rate is so high."
Recent media speculation over the past couple of years has suggested that the popularity of this method of delivery has increased with high-profile celebrity C-sections.
Independent advice on private healthcare