Researchers have long-known that woman are having C-section births at much higher rates than ever before. Amazingly, today nearly one out of every three children are born following the surgery. According to the Washington Post, that high rate makes C-sections the most common surgery at virtually all hospitals across the country.
While the rate increase was easy for experts to track, it was more difficult to understand the cause of the rise in these procedures as an alternative to natural birth. After all, in an ideal world, the surgery would not be necessary at all. The procedure poses many more risks to both the child and the mother when compared to healthy, natural childbirth. In addition, C-sections are more expensive than natural births-the increase in the procedure’s use has added significantly the country’s overall health care bill.
The downsides to the procedure have led researchers to help stem the tide by understanding the reasons for the rising use of C-sections. A recent study published in the American Journal of Obtetrics & Gynecology suggests some causes to the problem.
The researches ultimately found that many of procedures may be unnecessary. Historically, C-sections were used for those pregnancies that were known to be “problematic”-older mothers, previous C-section mothers, and similar cases. However, today even first time parents without clear problems seem to be getting the procedure at the same rate as other mothres, one out of three. Also, half of the C-sections that are performed occur in women who had their labor induced (initiated by the doctor) and before they were even dilated 6 cm. That suggests that more patients are picking when to begin labor and stopping the natural birth process very early after beginning labor. In other words, patients and their doctors may be using the process to conveniently schedule births, even though a healthier, natural childbirth would be possible.
Research into this area is still developing. New and more detailed information on the exact number of unnecessary C-section births is still forthcoming. But, it is no doubt clear that many of these procedures could be avoided with different medical care, planning, and advice. Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti have worked with many patients who suffered at the hands of problems during the delivery of children. Childbirth is inherently a risky medical situation, and everything should be done to ensure that risks of complications are lowered as much as possible. Patient’s trust their doctors to provide appropriate, timely, and clear medical advice on the risks and necessity of surgical procedures. For that reasons, all doctors need to ensure that unnecessary C-sections are limited.