Friday, July 22, 2011

The Ever Rising Cesarean Rate



USAToday reports that the cesarean rate continues rise on an article titled "C-section Rate in US Climbs to An All Time High".

The article reports that the national average is now 34% up from 29%. And lists the following suggestions on possible factors for the increase...


--Convenience in delivery timing for the doctor or the mother.

--Women giving birth later in life, which raises the risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery.

--An increase in maternal risk factors, such as obesity and diabetes.

--Increase in multiple births, sometimes du to the increase in fertility treatments.

--Increased willingness of doctors to perfor C-sections.

--Pregnant women's lack of understanding of the potentially serious complications of C-sections.

--Pregnant women requesting C-sections.  Read More 

The article calls for more accountability on the part of patients to understand the real risks of the surgery. I heartily agree. We can no longer trust our doctors to be objective for numerous reasons. We can no longer take a backseat to our own care. It needs to be understood that doctors walk away from these surgeries having been paid handsomely. It is the mothers and the babies who bear the brunt of the risks, and the altered quality of life should these risks be realized.

That fact alone should embolden us to ask for that second opinion, and question that physician's integrity...no apologies given, no questions asked.

Some choose/request cesareans because it's easier than vaginal birth. The question is, is it easier? Or is it a trade off of sorts, where an easy delivery is rewarded with potentially severe complications? In this light "fore" sight should be 20/20.

There is no doubt in my mind that the rise in maternal mortality rate and the continued rise of c-sections are partners of the same crime.

Consider embolism...the #1 cause of pregnancy-related deaths, it is a frequent side effect of surgeries, namely cesareans. Add to that our poor infant mortality ranking (see sidebar for links) and we have a maternity model of "care" that just begs for close scrutiny, not blind trust or easy answers.

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