Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

C-Section Rates Are at All-Time High

U.S. Has About 1.4 Million Cesarean Births Each Year

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean continued...

In recent surveys, about 30% of hospital administrators said their hospitals stopped performing VBACs because they could not comply with the guideline.

Uterine rupture often leads to fetal death or brain damage. When this happens, hospitals and ob-gyns are often sued and massive settlements are not uncommon.

"Their position is understandable. You can't make a hospital offer VBACs," Cunningham says. "But on the other hand, there is a growing voice out there of women who would like a trial of labor, but it is not available to them."

The panel concluded that VBAC is a safe alternative to C-section for most low-risk women who have had just one prior surgical birth, Cunningham says. Panel members also called for ob-gyns to discuss VBACs with appropriate patients and honor their patients' delivery preferences whenever possible.

Primary C-Sections on the Rise

Maureen Corry, who is executive director of the birth research and advocacy group Childbirth Connection, applauds the panel's action.

But she tells WebMD that lack of access to VBAC is just one of several factors driving the steady increase in C-section deliveries in the U.S.

"There has also been a big increase in the number of first-time cesarean sections over the last decade," she says.

Women who are older and those delivering more than one baby are more likely to have C-sections.

Corry says older maternal age and rising multiple birth rates may be factors in the rising rate of surgical deliveries, but they are not driving the trend.

Likewise, few women are demanding medically unnecessary surgical births, even though so-called "C-section on demand" has received much attention in the media, she says.

In a 2005 survey conducted for Childbirth Connection, just one in 1,600 women reported having a planned, first C-section for no medical reason at her own request.

Economics and litigation fears play a big part in this, she says. Surgical births are more lucrative for hospitals and doctors.

"From the doctor's point of view, a scheduled 45-minute surgery would have to be preferable to getting up in the middle of the night to attend to a woman who might labor for many hours," she says.

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
slideshow fetal development
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
What Causes Bipolar
Woman trying on dress in store
pregnant woman
Woman looking at pregnancy test
calendar and baby buggy
dark chocolate squares