Cesarean Sections and Family Planning Among Ultra-Orthodox Israeli Jews

Yuval Arbel, Ronen Bar-El

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The elevated frequency of Cesarean sections (C-sections) in OECD countries not only burdens health systems financially but also heightens the risks for mothers and infants. This study explores the feasibility of reducing C-section rates by examining the Israeli ultra-Orthodox population, noted for its large families and low C-section rates. We analyze birth data from an Israeli hospital, focusing on ultra-Orthodox mothers with husbands who are yeshiva students compared to other mothers. Our findings reveal that all else being equal, mothers married to yeshiva students exhibit a lower likelihood of undergoing a C-section and a higher propensity to seek private medical services to avoid this procedure. This behavior is attributed to their preference for large families and the desire to minimize C-sections, which may restrict the number of possible future pregnancies. These insights underscore the potential effectiveness of initiatives encouraging mothers to opt for vaginal deliveries, thereby reducing healthcare costs and maternal-infant risks.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Religion and Health
Early online date25 Apr 2024
StateE-pub ahead of print - 25 Apr 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2024.


  • C-section
  • Fertility
  • I11
  • I12
  • I18
  • J13
  • Private health
  • Public health
  • Z12


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