On Wednesday, Reuters reported on a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology that examined the possible reasons for the increase of the number of women giving birth by caesarean section. The 1 in 5 rate of women giving birth by c-section in the mid 1990s has risen to 1 in 3 as of 2008
After looking through over 200,000 records of women who gave birth by c-section, researchers believe that a cause of this increase could be that women are switching to a caesarean section regardless if there is a medical cause. Doctors are also performing c-sections sooner than recommended.
In addition, c-sections were more prominent in mothers over 35 years old in comparison to younger mothers. Researchers observed that women who had c-sections for their first birth were likely to have them again for following births.
Both Dr. Marian MacDorman of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and Dr. Mark Landon of Ohio State University College of Medicine think that doctors may be “intervening too soon and not allowing an adequate period of labor” before performing a c-section. MacDorman, who was not involved in the study, said, “Maybe doctors are more comfortable doing caesareans more regularly.”
A c-section is necessary in many births, but it poses needless health risks for both the mother and baby if performed unnecessarily. MacDorman said that there is evidence that babies are more likely to develop breathing problems and mothers are at a higher risk for future pregnancy problems. Furthermore, researcher Jun Zhang said that mothers are at a risk for bowel and bladder injury or requiring a hysterectomy. Additionally, the price tag of an average caesarean section is 5,000USD more than an average vaginal birth.
Researchers believe that aiming at educating first-time mothers in when a c-section is necessary is a key step in diminishing the climbing rate of c-sections.
Photo by mahalie of Flickr.