According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of women giving birth via cesarean section has increased 50 percent in the last ten years. C-sections now account for one third of all U.S. births.
No one is exactly sure who or what to blame for this record-breaking increase. Some say it's demand from women who want to schedule their births the Christina Aguilera way. "I didn’t want any surprises," the pop star told People magazine. "Honestly, I didn’t want any [vaginal] tearing...The hardest part was deciding on his birthday. I wanted to leave it up to fate, but at the same time I was ready to be done early!”
While the convenience factor of a scheduled c-section is a draw for many women, experts are concerned that too many of these procedures are elective and not medically necessary. C-sections are not without risk. Researchers found that neonatal mortality rates were higher among infants delivered by cesarean section (1.77 per 1,000 live births) than for those delivered vaginally (0.62).
Perhaps our largest concern is whether mommies-to-be are getting enough information about the birthing options available to them. Pregnancy can be a confusing, exhilarating, head-spinning time. Women need to fully understand their choices in order to make the decision that's right for them.