The number of C-sections in the United States rose by 25-percent in the last seven years, according to “HealthGrades 2011 Obstetrics and Gynecology in American Hospitals,” a report issued by HealthGrades. Florida, Texas and New Jersey came in with the highest rates of C-sections. Wisconsin, Utah and Colorado reported the lowest rates of C-sections. HealthGrades collects information from more than 5,000 health care providers and hospitals in the United States. According to the Senior Physician Consultant, Divya Cantor, MD, MBA, “Women today have a wide array options when it comes to reproductive health and choosing a health care provider who aligns with their personal preferences... [They] can optimize their chances for receiving the highest possible quality of care by researching and comparing the clinical outcomes of hospitals and doctors in their area."
Study authors and researchers are not laying 100-percent of the blame of increased C-sections on doctors. According to Dr. Cantor, women should understand the risks associated with a C-section before “blindly” going into the procedure. Doctors, on the other hand, may need to be retrained on how to evaluate the birth scenario before jumping into a C-section birth.
Despite the risk factors associated with C-sections, authors understand there are viable reasons for the increase. Among the reasons is an increase in multiple births and health risk factors that make it safer for women to deliver via C-section. Convenience and ignorance of health risks associated with a C-section are also noted as possible reasons for the increase.
The major risk factor for women giving birth via C-section is surgical complication. There are hundreds of thousands of surgical complications reported each year involving C-sections and other gynecological surgeries. As doctors become more comfortable delivering via C-section, the risk of these complications rise.
In Florida and New Jersey, the rate of C-sections is nearing 50-percent while other states like Utah hover at just more than 22-percent. Researchers will likely attempt to evaluate why certain states are more likely to deliver babies via C-section compared to other states.
A C-section is a major surgery. Risks include excessive bleeding, infection at incision site, adhesions and maternal/fetal mortality.
Source: HealthGrades Obstetrics and Gynecology in American Hospitals. HealthGrades. 24 July, 2011.