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NCHS Releases Report on Recent U.S. Cesarean Delivery Trends

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A new report released today by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) revealed that from 1996 to 2007, cesarean rates increased for all women, regardless of age, race, Hispanic origin, state of residence or gestational age of their infant or infants at birth.

In 2007, 32% of the approximately 1.4 million births in the United States were by cesarean section, the highest rate ever recorded in the United States and higher than the rates in most industrialized countries. The cesarean rate increased most rapidly between 2000 and 2007.

The report also revealed that the number of cesarean sections increased by 71% from 1996 to 2007 (797,119 to 1,367,049).

Cesarean section was the most frequently performed surgical procedure in the U.S. in 2006 and the risks to mother and infant associated with the surgery have been a topic of debate for over 25 years. According to the NCHS, suggested explanations for the rise in the cesarean rate for eleven consecutive years include many nonmedical reasons, such as maternal demographics, physicians’ practice preferences, maternal request and fear of litigation. 

While cesarean rates rose significantly in each state from 1996 to 2007, the magnitude of the rise varied from state to state, including 34 states with increases of more than 50% and six states with increases of more than 70%.





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Figures 1-4 appear in full report available online here.


Related Posts:

United States Cesarean Rate by State, 1990 to 2007

United States Cesarean Rates by Year, 1970 to 2007

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 (5)

my god, how do we just act like this is as common as getting a filling? how?

March 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfoxy.kate

Interestingly, this refutes the OBs' claims that the c/sec rate is increasing so much due to older mothers...they're going up at pretty much the same rate in the younger group from what I can tell.

March 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

The rates are going up in all age groups...but the rates ARE significantly higher in absolute terms for older mothers. So, if there were more mothers over age 35 in 2007 than in 2000, that would actually be a contributor to increases in the number of cesareans. Not that I want to support the OBs "blaming the mother" storyline, but there you are.

The question is, what's the justification for those rates being higher in the older moms, and is it based on medical need? (Or on lack of patience with slower labors, or on imaginary "higher risk" categories, or what?)

March 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

I wonder the same thing about older moms, since I am an older mom. Does the age-related high C-section rate correlate with other health problems, like pre-eclampsia, or with multiple births from fertility treatments? I would like to know the C-section rate in older moms with no health problems who go full-term with singletons.

March 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKK

The ICAN blog points out that the biggest increase has been in women under age 25, suggesting that even if more older moms are delivering and having C-sections, it's not the main reason for the overall jump.


March 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKK
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