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BIRTHS: About one-third of all births are C-sections


In the United States, about one-third of all live births today are via cesarean section, according to national data from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.  The most current statistic is:  32.2 percent in 2014, compared to what is described as the peak of 32.9 percent in 2009.  When the data are analyzed according to race/ethnicity, the group with the highest percentage of c-sections is non-Hispanic black women (35.6 percent in 2014).

Source: Martin, J.A., Hamilton, B.E., and Oserman, J.K. (2015, Sept.). Births in the United States, 2014. NCHS Data Brief, 216.  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db216.pdf Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org


A separate report from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that in the ’90s, the c-section rate was much lower – holding at about 20 to 23 percent overall.

Source: Hamilton, B.E., Martin, J.A., Osterman, M.J.K., and others. (2015, Dec. 23). Births: Final data for 2014. National Vital Statistics Report. 64(12). http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/nvsr64_12.pdf   Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

OBSTETRICS: 1 million deliveries in U.S. hospitals studied

Statistics on over one million deliveries at 355 U.S. hospitals in 2008 and 2009 were studied based on Premier, Inc.’s Perspective database.  This provides a fascinating large-scale look at the obstetrics population in the U.S.  Let’s take a look (I’ve rounded the following numbers off and combined some categories from those given in the original article.)

How old are maternity patients?

  • About half are in their 20s
  • About 10 percent are teenage mothers

What kind of insurance do they have?

  • 42 percent managed care
  • 42 percent Medicaid
  •   8 percent commercial – indemnity
  •   3 percent self pay
  •   6 percent other

How many patients…

  • Delivered by C-section this time? 39 percent
  • Have had a previous C-section?  18 percent
  • Are of advanced maternal age?  16 percent
  • Are delivering prematurely?  8 percent
  • Are obese?  4 percent

What was the median length of stay?

  • 2 days for vaginal delivery
  • 3 days for C-section

What was the hospital risk-adjusted infection rate?

  • 4.1 percent of all deliveries were complicated by infection

The authors found that “risk-adjusted infection rates following childbirth vary considerably across hospitals, and that key structural and organizational hospital features explain only a modest amount of this variation.”

Source: Goff, S.L., Pekow, P.S., and others. (2013, June). Patterns of obstetric infection rates in a large sample of U.S. hospitals. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 208(6). Author manuscript free here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3670964/pdf/nihms-443021.pdf  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422.2050, rc@aha.org