C-Section Rates Still on the Rise

Creative Commons License photo credit: SantaRosa OLD SKOOL

If you follow pregnancy-related trends at all, you probably know that the rate of Cesarean section deliveries tends to ebb and flow. During the 1970s, for example, the rate hit the low 30s, but dipped down quite a bit after a more natural approach to childbirth started to trend in the 1980s and the 1990s. By 2002, the rate of C-sections was just 27 percent.

Today however, according to a recent study, the rate for C-sections across the United States is closer to 34 percent. This was the rate as of 2009, the most recent year for which statistics were available.

Some regions fared worse than others. The study only looked at 19 states, but the picture it presents in nevertheless interesting.

Florida, for example, saw a whopping 38.6 percent of deliveries occur via C-section. New Jersey was not far behind at 38 percent. Texas came in at number three with 35.9 percent.

The states with the lowest rates of cesarean deliveries were Utah (22.4 percent), Wisconsin (25.1 percent), and Colorado (27.3 percent).

This is, of course, a disturbing trend. Those numbers should be falling at this point, not rising. According to the World Health Organization, the C-section rate should be no higher than 15 percent.

So, what is it that is making so many doctors and women choose major abdominal surgery over a traditional vaginal delivery? There are a number of factors, including:

  • More labor induction as well as use of epidurals, both of which increase the necessity of C-sections
  • Increased risky deliveries coming from higher obesity, diabetes, and multiple baby rates
  • Women who are increasingly having babies at a later age, which increases risks.

Whether or not this trend will continue remains to be seen. What is sure is that, for now, the cesarean delivery is on the rise, and there aren’t any compelling signs to suggest that they’re going to slow down.

So, what about you? Did you have a C-section, or are you planning on it? Why or why not?

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