Cesaarean Delivery Trends Tracked

Cesarean section deliveries increase as use of forceps and vacuum-assisted vaginal delivery decrease

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Oftentimes, cesarean sections are unavoidable, such as in cases of breech birth, or an umbilical cord wrapped around the baby's neck. But even with better medical care, Cesarean rates are increasing in the US.

A research team from Yale University assessed records of 30,000 births to track the increasing trend towards cesarean sections. The more subjective reasons including slow progress in labor and concerns about the baby's heart tracings contributed more than 50 percent to the increase in cesarean rate.

"Ask your OB/GYN which situations would require a cesarean section."

Yale researcher and study lead Jessica Illuzzi, M.D., Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences reports that her team found more objective type reasons like a baby in the breech position or placenta previa remained constant over the seven year study.

Twin pregnancies, preeclampsia and supposedly large babies contributed to the increase in the cesarean rate as well. Dr. Illuzzi suggests that the use of cesareans for these situations is on the rise.

The doctor and her team also hypothesized that the decreasing use of forceps and vacuum-assisted vaginal delivery is the reason for the rise in cesarean deliver rates; but her data did not indicate that. This team found that the decision to perform a cesarean section was made predominately during the first stage of labor before there would even be a need under prior standards for the use of forceps or a vacuum-assisted deliver. 

Additionally, maternal-choice cesarean births, which is also often cited as another factor, contributed only eight percent to the total increase in primary cesarean delivery in the pregnancies observed in this study.

For this research, Dr. Illuzzi and her co-authors analyzed indications for cesarean delivery on data collected  from over 30,000 births at Yale-New Haven Hospital from 2003 to 2009.

This study will be published in the July, 2011 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 22, 2011
Last Updated:
July 25, 2011