Health & Science

C-section Deliveries In U.S. Plateau At 33%, But Texas Rate Is Higher

New data from hospitals shows that the rate of births by C-section has leveled off, after rising for eight years. But Texas still has one of the highest rates.

Healthgrades is an organization that independently rates hospitals on quality and performance.

Its latest study on women’s health revealed the good news that the number of pregnancies ending in a Cesarean delivery has reached a plateau of 33 percent nationally.

Dr. Divya Cantor is an obstetrician who worked on the report:

“I think that’s a very encouraging sign. There’s been much conversation and education both to the public as well as to physicians about performing C-sections only when its time.”

C-sections carry higher risks of complications like infection and blood clots, when compared to vaginal births.

But Cantor says that in certain areas of the country, women are more likely to get them even when it’s not necessary – sometimes because of their doctors’ preferences or their own misunderstandings of the risks:

“There could be many women out there who think that ‘Oh, I’ll just have a C-section and it will be a lot easier because I can schedule it and I will have everything planned.’ But it is a major surgical procedure that has higher incidence of complications. It increases the length of stay, it takes you away from your work.”

Texas ranks third in C-section rates, behind New Jersey and Florida.

35.7 percent of Texas births end in C-sections. However, a number of hospitals in Texas have taken steps to reduce the rate of elective C-sections.

Healthgrades gave 14 hospitals in the Houston area top marks for maternity care.

From the KUHF Health and Science Desk, I’m Carrie Feibel.