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First-Time Cesarean Rates Dipped in 2012: CDC

But doctor says the surgical births are still too commonplace

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Declines were reported in 16 of those 29 areas, while the remaining states' rates remained the same, according to the report.

Some areas reported dramatic declines. C-sections in Delaware, North Dakota, Oregon, New York State and New York City decreased by 5 percent to 10 percent from 2009 to 2012. In Utah, the rate fell by 15 percent.

Cesarean rates also varied depending on the stage of pregnancy. Each week from 37 weeks' gestation and beyond saw declines in C-sections, with the biggest drop at 38 weeks, when the baby is nearly ready to be born. Full term is usually considered 40 weeks.

The researchers said these findings cannot be generalized to the entire country, because the reporting states aren't a random sample of U.S. births.

Putting financial pressure on hospitals could reduce the cesarean rate further, Maiman said. "If you introduce financial incentives or disincentives to hospitals for overall cesarean rates, then they will pass that on to the physicians," he said.

Changes regarding medical malpractice laws could also make a major impact on the cesarean rate, he said.

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