In a report entitled ‘Health Grades 2011 Obstetrics & Gynecology in American Hospitals‘, researchers have concluded that the rate of C-sections climbed from 27 percent of births to 34 percent of births between 2002 and 2009. In just seven years, that number has increased by one percent each year.
While many women and babies have benefited from delivery via C-section, obstetricians agree that when possible and safe, women should deliver vaginally. The report indicates several reasons that C-sections are performed, including the convenience or timing of C-sections for mother and doctor, women asking for C-sections, doctors performing C-sections to minimize risk of malpractice and common labor practices, such as labor induction, requiring C-sections when complications arise.
Dr. Alan Fleischman, medical director for the March of Dimes, comments that the right reason for a C-section is not convenience. In his concern over the rising rate of C-sections, he notes that babies should be carried to full term whenever possible, as they do not just grow over the last few weeks of pregnancy, but continue to develop brain and lung functions.
As a surgery, C-sections can also result in health complications for the mother, particularly those who are obese.