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C-Section Rate Rising

The rate of Cesarean sections in the US is rising quickly and is prompting concern among health professionals. In 2009, 34 percent of pregnancies ended in a c-section, compared to 27 percent in 2002, a study by the independent health care ratings organization Healthgrade found.

The rise is “quite dramatic,” said Dr. Alan Fleischman, medical director of the March of Dimes, which promotes health for mothers and babies. “Cesarean section should be done at the right time and for the right reason,” Fleischman said. “Some cesarean sections are being done too early and not for the right reason. Convenience for the woman or her doctor isn’t the right reason.”

Besides the ease of planning a birth time, the report found more c-sections were being performed because women were not aware of the risks associated with the procedure and because doctors feared malpractice suits. Other factors included increasing rates of diabetes and obesity among pregnant women, as well as women’s tendency to give birth later in life.

According to an NIH press release, Dr. F. Gary Cunningham, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas stated, “Declining VBAC rates and increasing cesarean delivery rates over the last 15 years would seem to indicate that planned repeat cesarean delivery is preferable to a trial of labor. But the currently available evidence suggests a very different picture: a trial of labor is worth considering and may be preferable for many women.”

Sources:

USA Today, 7/19/2011; HealthGrades.com; Feminist Daily Newswire 3/12/10

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