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Yale study examines increasing rate of C-sections

Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine are examining the reasons behind the increasing frequency with which pregnant woman are undergoing c-section deliveries.

About half of the increase was attributed to pregnancies in which the woman had a prior c-section delivery a situation that may call for subsequent births to be performed via c-section. The other half, those that had not had a prior c-section delivery were increasing for a variety of reasons.

When they examined the reasons given for c-sections in women who had not had a prior c-section it seemed that the instance of c-sections births remained stable for more objective reasons. Those reasons can include that the fetus is in a breach position or that there is placenta previa. When these objective conditions occur it is generally agreed that c-section is always required.

Where the rate was increasing was in situations in which the decision to perform a c-section was more subjective. These judgment calls included situations in which the fetal heart rate became a concern or that the labor was simply not progressing at the rate expected by the medical personnel.

The decision of whether a c-section should be performed is a serious one. Many mothers would prefer if possible to delivery vaginally and a c-section surgery is serious operation that has its own risks. But there is a risk on the other side that a doctor may not identify the need for a c-section birth sufficiently early in the process. In these cases an infant that may have been born healthy via c-section is exposed to an increased risk of birth injury because the doctor failed to identify the underlying danger.

Source: Truth Dive "Why cesarean births are on the rise" June 23, 2011

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