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C-Section Rates on the Rise Nationwide and Far Exceed Recommended Rates

From 2002-2009, 34 percent of expectant mothers delivered via Caesarean section (C-section), up from approximately 1 in 4 births in prior years to 1 in 3. This is far above the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended target rate for C-sections of 15 percent.

C-sections are common among women who give birth to twins, triplets or more, as well as those who have been identified as at-risk during delivery because of high blood pressure, diabetes. The use of an epidural and inducing labor can also lead to complications that may warrant a C-section.

But, the fact is that many C-sections that happen do not happen for medical reasons, but rather as a matter of convenience. Some women and their physicians schedule C-sections so the timing of the birth is right. The concern surrounding the rising rate is related to C-sections that are performed even when signs that a C-section may be necessary are not present.

The Joint Commission and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality asserts that the number of c-sections performed in certain types of pregnancies should be reduced and that data does not support a medical necessity for the rising rate of C-sections.

Injuries Related to a Caesarean Birth

A C-section, although widely known and considered safe, is still major surgery and is not without risks itself, to both the mother and the new baby. Dr. Divya Cantor notes that injury to the mother, including organ and tissue damage, blood clots and a lengthened recovery period, all weigh in favor of vaginal delivery unless a medical reason exists to perform a C-Section.

There may also be risks to the new baby if a C-section is scheduled prior to reaching full term. During the final month of pregnancy, a baby is continuing to grow and his or her organs are continuing to develop. Allowing a baby to proceed to term, rather than delivering early via C-section, gives the baby additional time to develop within the protection of the mother's womb.

Source: C-Section Rates at an All-Time High

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