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C-Section Rate Rises: 2007 U.S. Cesarean Rate Hit 31.8 Percent

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics released the findings of its analysis of nearly 99 percent of all birth records reported by 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. Of the record 4,317,119 babies born in 2007, 1,372,844 were delivered via Cesarean section. The c-section rate rose 2 percent in 2007, to 31.8 percent, marking the 11th consecutive year of increase and another record high for the United States according to the CDC. 


From the .pdf report, “Births: Preliminary Data for 2007”:

The preliminary cesarean delivery rate rose 2 percent in 2007, to 31.8 percent of all births, marking the 11th consecutive year of increase and another record high for the United States (see table below). This rate has climbed by more than 50 percent over the last decade (20.7 percent in 1996). Increases between 2006 and 2007 in the percentage of births delivered by cesarean were reported for most age groups (data not shown), and for the three largest race and Hispanic origin groups: non-Hispanic white (32.0 percent in 2007), non-Hispanic black (33.8 percent) and Hispanic (30.4 percent). The rise in the total cesarean delivery rate in recent years has been shown to result from higher rates of both first and repeat cesareans (1).


Also interesting is that the number of births in the U.S. in 2007 surpassed the peak of the postwar “baby boom” in 1957.

The preliminary estimate of births in 2007 was 4,317,119, 1 percent more than in 2006 (4,265,555) and the highest number ever registered for the United States. This number surpasses the peak of the postwar ‘‘baby boom,’’ in 1957. Births rose for each race and Hispanic origin group, with increases ranging from less than 1 percent for non Hispanic white women to 6 percent for Asian or Pacific Islander (API) women. Births to non-Hispanic black and Hispanic women each increased by nearly 2 percent.


Other findings:

  • The percentage of low birthweight babies declined slightly between 2006 and 2007, from 8.3 percent to 8.2 percent. This is the first decline in the percentage of low birthweight babies since 1984.
  • The preterm birth rate (infants delivered at less than 37 weeks of pregnancy) decreased 1 percent in 2007 to 12.7 percent. The decline was seen mostly among infants born late preterm (between 34 and 36 weeks).

The full report is available at www.cdc.gov/nchs.



2007 U.S. Cesarean Rate Posts:

Cesarean Delivery Rates by State, 2007

Map of Cesarean Delivery Rates by State, 2007

C-Section Rate Rises: 2007 U.S. Cesarean Rate Hit 31.8 Percent




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Reader Comments (18)

oh Jesus. I mean, I already knew this.... I see the Expecting Clubs on Ivillage and how so many of those pregnancies end in c-sections. But my god. 11 years of increases? When will this madness end?

I wonder if we'll see a significant change for the 2008 or 2009 births with the release of The Business of Being Born? Only time will tell.

March 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTheFeministBreeder

This is incredible. I would really like to see ACOG come out and explain why this solid increase. What has happened that requires this continual rise? How are they justifying this? I'd also like to see this overlaid with a rate of mortality/morbidity.

March 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTara

Just SEEING the actual rise on that graph is alarming. Why is this problem continuously swept under the rug??

March 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermichele

Tara-- I will!

March 19, 2009 | Registered CommenterJill

Unfortunately, this news is not new to me. I have worked in L&D, and NICU's for 16 years now, and have witnessed this increase first hand. Why is this happening? Well, I would have to say the first reason is defensive medicine. Even though birth via C/S has done nothing in decreasing the morbidity and mortality of infants (it actually increases morbidity), the public and lawyers would disagree. There are also a myriad of other reasons such as: patient request (rare), higher risk mom's, more multiple births, more obesity and gestational diabetes, and a big one is doctor impatience, or intolerance to labor. I am proud to say that I currently work in a hospital that has a lower than the national average in the rate of C/S's. 30% of our deliveries are performed by midwives, and their C/S rate is about 18%. I personally delivered my first baby in an academic teaching hospital. Wanted a natural childbirth, and ended up with a C/S (the nurse curse!). With the second baby, I had a VBAC with the fantastic nurse midwives in the hospital I currently work at. I would love to give testimonials on how much better it is for mom's and babies to delivery vaginally. After all, I am one of the few who experienced birth both ways.

March 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterReality Rounds

RR, I would love to post your story. If you'd like to write an article or you want me to interview you and write it up, let me know. unnecesarean at gmail.com

Thank you so much for your insightful comment.

March 20, 2009 | Registered CommenterJill

I have also experienced both ways of birthing. I can tell you hands down you do not want to take the 'easy way out' via c/s. Mine was not optional or emergency, but rather my placenta was in the way (previa). I am grateful there is modern medicine that is available, because otherwise I would probably not be here. However, if I do have more children, you can bet on it that I will do all that is possible to avoid being sectioned again.

March 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenny


It's weird to hear people call a c-section the easy way out or a way to prevent pain, huh?

Modern medicine rocks when used appropriately. I don't blame you for wanting a VBAC next time around if there is one. I glad you had a healthy c-section birth.

March 24, 2009 | Registered CommenterJill

I gave birth to my twins by c-section two weeks ago, and feel way better then I did after having a natural birth.

April 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

How wonderful for you! Congratulations on having twins. =)

April 24, 2009 | Registered CommenterJill
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