CDC: TN Cesarean Births Up 53%
April 9, 2010
NASHVILLE - The most-common surgery in the United States is Caesarean delivery, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report shows C-sections are at an all-time high nationwide, with 1.4 million surgeries each year. The rate of surgical deliveries in Tennessee is up 53 percent, or three of every ten, according to the report. The CDC notes that monitoring the rates of C-sections is important because it is a major surgical procedure potentially negatively affecting the health of women and their babies, and future fertility.
Desirre Andrews, president of the International Cesarean Action Network, argues fewer births should be by C-section. She believes several factors - some non-legitimate - are behind the rising rate, including physician-perceived liability risks, the fact that women are waiting longer to become mothers, and hospital policies that don't allow women any other choice if they've delivered by C-section previously.
"The under-25 age group, since 2000, has the highest increase in Caesareans. That was fascinating and heart-breaking at the same time; these are women at the beginning of their child-bearing years."
The study also shows that Caesarean births cost about twice as much as normal non-surgical deliveries. A recent National Institutes of Health panel found that the scientific evidence doesn't support banning the option of birthing a baby after a previous C-section, but the ban is common at many hospitals nationwide.
Andrews urges women to speak up and ask questions until policies change.
"If it doesn't sound right to them, like, 'Why do I need to do this? This is really major surgery;' interviewing providers; maybe looking at different avenues of birth, maybe a birth center, maybe a home birth."
Medical professionals argue most C-sections are performed when unexpected problems occur during delivery, such as problems with the placenta, certain birth defects, incorrect positioning of the baby, births of multiples, and health problems of the mother.
The full CDC report, Recent Trends in Cesarean Delivery in the United States, is at