According to a study by the independent health care ratings organization Healthgrade, the rate of Cesarean sections is at an all-time high in the United States. In 2009, the rate of pregnancies that resulted in C-section was 34%, up from 27% in 2002. The World Health Organization suggested that the United States’ C-section rate should only be 15%.
It is unclear what is causing the rate of C-sections to go up, but experts suggested several possible culprits. The report found that increasing rates of diabetes and obesity among pregnant women as well as an increasing tendency for women to give birth later in life were likely factors in the increasing rate. But Jacqueline Wolf, an Ohio University researcher, told ThirdAge.com that “Medical reasons alone cannot possibly explain why more than one in three American women need major abdominal surgery in order to safely give birth.” Non-medical reasons for the increasing C-section rate include that a growing number of women choose C-section to ease the planning of a birth time and that many doctors perform C-sections because they fear malpractice suits.
The increasing rate of C-sections is disturbing as the procedure carries with it many risks for mother and baby. The study found that complications due to C-section include: blood clots, infection, injury to the bladder, uterus or bowel, excessive bleeding and longer recovery time.
Despite the fact that the Society of Gynecologists and Obstetricians stated that vaginal delivery is the safest route to delivery in first and subsequent pregnancies, the rate of Cesarean sections in the U.S. is on the rise. To find out about what the steps might be to reducing the U.S. C-section rate, click here.