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Another Record High for Cesarean Surgeries

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December 29, 2010

DES MOINES, Iowa - Every year for 13 years, the cesarean birth rate has increased in the United States, with the current rate standing at a record high of nearly 33 percent. This means about 1.3 million children are born using this surgical procedure, often referred to as a "C-section." The Iowa rate also has been creeping up; it now stands at 27.6 percent.

Sarah Harding, spokesperson for the Central Iowa chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network (I-CAN) says women need to take notice of the alarming rate of surgical delivery.

"No one really reaches out and gives them the education, so that has a lot to do with it. Health care providers have a much busier schedule, so they kind-of feel pressure to 'control' birth more than is necessary."

She says evidence shows that cesareans place women and babies at increased health risks, both immediate and long-term. However, there are at least two hospitals in the state with far lower C-section rates, she says.

"In Ames, Mary Greeley has a 23 percent C-section rate and Iowa City has 16 percent, which are the two lowest rates in our state."

The latest statistics shows more cesareans done for all age and ethnic groups. Black women have the highest C-section rate, at 34.5 percent.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA