C-Section Rate Reductions Panned

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , July 1, 2013

Asked for comment, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists did not provide anyone to speak about the report. However, ACOG spun the findings slightly differently and said in a media release that it was "encouraging" that C section births had leveled off since 2009.

"The College believes that its ongoing efforts to reduce non-medically indicated deliveries before 39 weeks' gestation has helped to achieve this plateau," ACOG said.  

"The College is also encouraged that the cesarean delivery rate decreased by more than 5% for singleton births at 38 weeks' gestation from 2009 to 2011. This decrease in cesareans occurred for women of all races and maternal ages, and in more than half of all states. However, the encouraging news is offset by data showing the cesarean rate at 39 weeks gestation has increased by 4%. More research is needed to find out the reason(s) for this increase."

Binder says that a recent survey from the Childbirth Connection [PDF], a non-profit maternity care advocacy group, found that only 1% of new mothers said they requested a C section.  

"They also found that a lot of women were given C sections or inductions for reasons that are known not to be medically indicated," she says. "For example many women were told that they had big babies. That is not in and of itself an indication for a C section but 80% of those women were either given the induction or a C section. We know that based on that study and other and literature we know that there is a high prevalence of unnecessary C sections and certainly the increase over the last 20 years is a very disturbing phenomenon."

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