A new reportsays the number of New Brunswick women having caesarean sections remains high, and women's advocates are wondering why.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information's latest statistics for 2005-2006, released Wednesday,show 28.7 per cent of deliveries in the province were by C-section. The rate was 28.6 per cent the previous year.

The World Health Organization recommends that no more than 15 per cent of births happen through the major abdominal operation. A C-section poses risks such as infections, hemorrhage, injury to other organs, and a maternal mortality two to four times greater than that for a vaginal birth.

The New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women wants to know why the rates are so high.

"We need to get some more firm answers on why this is occurring and then be able to address some of the causes," said Wendy Johnston, the council's policy and liaison officer.

"If it is about a lack of health resources or health professionals to deal with long labour or to deal with labour requiring more care, well that's one issue we may be able to address."

Johnston hopes that the new midwifery program in the province will help to provide more complete care for mothers and their babies, and reduce the number of C-sections.

The provincial government announced this spring that midwives would be practising in New Brunswick hospitals within a year.