Thursday, March 20, 2008

Relentless Rise in Cesarean Section Rate

In December 2007, the National Center for Health Statistics released the preliminary U.S. national cesarean rate for 2006: 31.1%. This rate has increased by 50% over the past decade, reaching a record level every year in this century (see chart below). The most common operating room procedure in U.S. hospitals, c-section involves considerable morbidity in women and babies and considerable expense for private payers/employers and Medicaid/taxpayers.

See links below for some of Childbirth Connection's extensive resources about this procedure. For your use, we have also prepared a PDF hand-out of this c-section page (PDF).

Source: U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (Note: for comparability, 2004 and 2005 primary cesarean and VBAC rates are limited to 37 jurisdictions with unrevised birth certificates, encompassing 69% of 2005 births; 2006 total cesarean rate is preliminary)

The following resources are available on this website:

Why the c-section rate continues to increase fact sheet
What Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Know About Cesarean Section — booklet for learning about the issues and making wise decisions beginning in early pregnancy
Cesarean Section: Myth versus Reality — four myths about cesarean section
Mothering magazine article (PDF) describing the current birthing environment and illustrating typical labor in U.S. hospitals and cesarean surgical procedure
mothers report cesarean section views and experiences — results from the national Listening to Mothers II survey
c-section and vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) versus repeat cesarean section — in-depth coverage for pregnant women, including best evidence and tips for making decisions and achieving goals
harms that differ in likelihood between cesarean section and vaginal birth (PDF) — summary of Childbirth Connection's systematic review
analysis of 2006 National Institutes of Health cesarean section conference and report
charges for cesarean section and vaginal birth — chart with national average figures
c-section resources and VBAC versus repeat cesarean section resources for learning more.

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