Preliminary Data is Out: U.S. Sees Drop in C-Section Rate for the First Time in More Than a Decade

The news is off the press and circulating the blogosphere:  According to the preliminary 2010 data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. cesarean section rate has actually dropped compared to the finalized 2009 data.  In fact, most of the maternity-related rates have dropped: 

Critics of this change in the c-section rate will argue that a 0.1% drop is hardly anything to get excited about.  But just as a ball tossed into the air with an initial upward momentum, there must be a slight pause in motion before a new direction of momentum can occur.  Perhaps, then, we are at the apex of the c-section rate trajectory, with a change in direction inevitably to follow.  That, I think, is nothing to scoff at.

Many will speculate on the cause of this changed momentum; others will grapple to claim responsibility.  Still, more may claim to "have no idea" why this drop has occurred.  Media sources may cite the overall drop in fertility rate, or teen pregnancy rates as responsible. Clinicians can claim the decreased cesarean rate is due to practice changes.  Normal birth advocates and childbirth educators can claim the change comes from efforts to teach the public about various birthing options and the dangers of over-using an approach to childbirth that is ideally used more judiciously.  But what of consumers? I hope to see in the coming days, as this piece of news circulates, that the stalled momentum of our nation's increasing cesarean rates is related, at least in some part, to consumer voice.  Is it possible that, amidst all other influences, the c-section rate dropped (slightly) due to consumer demand for more normal birthing options?  What do you think? *

Our sister blog, Giving Birth With Confidence, posted an excellent piece today about premature birth, in observance of World Prematurity Day including a great overview of issues pertaining to prematurity which you might find useful for referring your clients/patients to.

Posted by:  Kimmelin Hull, PA, LCCE, FACCE

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