Sunday, February 24, 2008

C-Section Births are at an All-time High

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.


Holly Miller said...

I don't know why women think C-sections are "convenient." The recovery is horrible. You aren't allowed to drive for 6 weeks. You can't lift your baby for a day or two. You are not allowed to be alone with your baby in the hospital. Someone always has to be there to help you. You can't even nurse without someone lifting the baby into position! Personally, I would have preferred the "inconvenience" of a little tearing and a quick recovery.


Lawyer Mama said...

You aren't allowed to drive for TWO weeks, Holly. Actually, my recovery was pretty darn easy. But then, I had no labor. (And before you have me drawn and quartered, the baby was in distress at a routine visit. It wasn't scheduled.)

I don't necessarily trust the infant mortality statistic unless they're only comparing ELECTIVE c-sections with vaginal births. Most c-sections are done because of complications or for the health of the mother or baby. That will, necessarily, result in a higher mortality rate.

Not saying that the c-section rate isn't a problem, but we should look at it a little more closely. In my case, a c-section saved my son's life.

Magali & Claire said...

Hi lawyer mama,
The study we cited does not specify whether it was elective compared to vaginal births, but it does indicate that the women in the study had no indicated medical risks.

CynthiaC said...

Some people have really small hips, and babies today are getting bigger. I have a friend whose measurements are probably around 32-21-32 and I don't know if she's going to be able to properly deliver a baby if the kid is going to be 9 lb or more!