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USA Today Examines Rising U.S. C-Section Rate, Changing Rate of Vaginal Birth After Caesarean

December 17, 2004

USA Today on Wednesday examined the increasing percentage of pregnant women in the United States who deliver by caesarean section and the variation over time of the percentage of U.S. women who choose to deliver vaginally following a previous c-section. In 2003, 27% of pregnant women in the United States delivered by c-section -- a record high -- according to preliminary government data. As a result, the total number of pregnant women in the United States who have undergone a c-section continues to rise, prompting more discussion over the safety and desirability of VBAC versus a repeat c-section, according to USA Today. In 1996, about 28% of U.S. women who gave birth following a previous c-section delivered by VBAC, and preliminary data indicate that only about 10% of such women underwent VBAC in 2003. The decline could be attributed in part to the increasing number of malpractice lawsuits against physicians and hospitals and "inaccurate" research findings about the danger of VBAC, as well as changed guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which in 1999 advised that only hospitals with a surgical team "immediately" available should allow VBACs (Rubin, USA Today, 12/15). The complete article is available online.


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