Skip to content

    Health & Pregnancy

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    C-Section Rates Are High and Getting Higher

    Study Shows 1 in 3 U.S. Babies Are Delivered by Cesarean Section
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

    Aug. 30, 2010 -- Cesarean section deliveries are at an all-time high in the U.S. and are expected to keep rising, and new government-funded research may help explain the trend.

    Nearly one in three babies are now delivered surgically -- up from one in five just over a decade ago.

    Previously recognized contributors to the rise include delayed childbearing, the rising obesity rate among moms-to-be, and an increase in multiple birth deliveries.

    Induced Labor and C-Sections

    The new analysis also found that longer labor times and an increase in induced labors are also factors.

    And a sharp decline in attempted vaginal deliveries in women who have had previous C-section deliveries has certainly contributed to the trend, government investigators said Monday.

    Researchers from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development analyzed data from more than 228,000 deliveries at 19 hospitals across the U.S. from 2002 to 2008.

    Among their findings:

    • One in three first-time moms delivered by C-section.
    • Previous surgical birth was the most common reason for C-sections, accounting for almost a third of all cesarean deliveries.
    • The C-section rate among older moms was double that of younger ones.
    • 44% of women who attempted vaginal delivery had labor induced, and the C-section delivery rate was almost twice as high in these women as in women whose labor was spontaneous (21% vs. 12%).

    The induced labor rate among the women in the study was much higher than has been seen in previous studies.

    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
    Slideshow
    pregnancy first trimester warning signs
    Article
     
    What Causes Bipolar
    Video
    Woman trying on dress in store
    Slideshow
     
    pregnant woman
    Article
    Woman looking at pregnancy test
    Quiz
     
    calendar and baby buggy
    Tool
    dark chocolate squares
    Slideshow