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C-Section Rate in U.S. Climbs to All-Time High: Report
Date:7/19/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 19 (HealthDay News) -- Between 2002 and 2009, the number of cesarean deliveries rose significantly, from 27 percent of births to 34 percent, finds a new report based on information from 19 U.S. states.

"C-sections are rising, and there needs to be a little bit more scrutiny from the person who is having the C-section as well as doctors and hospitals," said report author Dr. Divya Cantor, the senior physician consultant for HealthGrades, the organization that put together the report.

HealthGrades is a source for physician information and hospital quality outcomes.

The jump in C-sections is a national trend, according to Cantor. "Doctors need to better understand when a C-section is called for," she said. "Patients need to have a better understanding of C-sections and not go into it blindly."

Commenting on the report, Dr. Alan Fleischman, medical director of the March of Dimes, said that the findings in the report are "not surprising, but they are quite dramatic."

"We at the March of Dimes have great concerns not just about the rate, but about what's driving it," he said.

According to the report, some of the reasons the number of cesarean deliveries are on the rise include:

  • Convenience in delivery timing for the doctor or the mother.
  • Women giving birth later in life, which raises the risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery.
  • An increase in maternal risk factors, such as obesity and diabetes.
  • Increase in multiple births, sometimes due to the increase in fertility treatments.
  • Increased willingness of doctors to perform C-sections.
  • Pregnant women's lack of understanding of the potentially serious complications of C-sections.
  • Pregnant women requesting C-sections.
  • Fear of malpractice for not doing a C-section.
  • Common labor practices, such as inducing labor or us
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