Why you should care about C-section rates
Mom with newborn

The U.S. National Center for Health Statistics just released C-section rates for 1989-2010. If you're wondering if this matters, the answer is yes! Find out how it can affect your labor and delivery.

What you need to know

So, what's the C-section rate in your state? And why should you care? It comes down to the health and well-being of you and your baby. Discover how it can affect your labor and delivery, and learn what you can do if you're not thrilled with the rates in your community.

Discover the rate in your state

You can find out the C-section rate in your state at ChildbirthConnection.org. What's the average cesarean section rate in your state? The answer may surprise you — some states hover well over 30 percent. The next step is to do as much research as possible to find out the cesarean section rates of hospitals in your community, as well as C-section rates for your individual doctor’s or midwife’s practice.

You can locate information such as the rate of primary C-section — moms having C-sections for the first time — as well as the rate of secondary C-section and the rate of vaginal birth after cesarean. Ideally, you'll be able to find out this information early in your pregnancy. If you don't like what you discover, you can always look at a different practice or hospital, but that can be easier said than done depending where you live.

Ways to avoid a C-section

If you want to avoid a cesarean unless medically necessary, here's what you can do:

  • Choose a healthcare provider and place of birth with a low cesarean rate. You can also find out rates and other interventions such as induction or epidural use — both may increase the risk of C-section.
  • Take a comprehensive childbirth class. You'll learn all of your options for labor and birth including comfort measures, proper positions that can help your baby rotate, and other ways to avoid a C-section for non-medical reasons.
  • Hire a doula. Research shows that having a labor support companion with you during birth helps reduce the need for interventions including C-section.
  • Communicate with your healthcare provider early and often. If you're hoping to avoid a C-section or have a natural birth with as little intervention as possible, you need to be clear with your doctor before and during labor.

Labor and birth can be unpredictable. Understand the risks, benefits and alternatives to C-section so together with your doctor or midwife you can make an informed decision for you and your baby.

More about C-sections

How to lose baby weight after C-section
Recovery after C-section: What you should know
Doulas and scheduled cesarean births


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