(NaturalNews) The c-section rate in the United States continues to climb, a phenomenon increasingly attributed to impatience on the part of women and doctors.
The rate of women delivering by c-section had increased to 31.8 percent by 2007, with a further increase to 32.3 percent in 2008, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This marks a stunning 50 percent increase just since 1996.
Looking for more information on what specific factors are correlated with c-sections, researchers analyzed the electronic records from 228,668 deliveries at 19 US hospitals between 2002 and 2007. This was necessary because birth certificates, the normal source of information for birth statistics, include very little information about labor and delivery.
The c-section rate among the births studied was 30.5 percent. The c-section rate was twice as high among women whose labor was induced as among women whose labor began naturally.
A full 44 percent of women who attempted vaginal delivery ended up having their labor pharmaceutically induced.
The researchers further found that nearly half of all c-sections in either women whose labor was induced or in women who had undergone a prior c-section began before the cervix had dilated to six centimeters, the point at which active labor is typically considered to commence.
Only 16 percent of women who had undergone prior c-sections and who attempted vaginal birth were successful. Twenty-nine percent made the attempt.
Yet as Gary Null writes in his book The Woman's Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, "A retrospective study of 194 pregnant women who had previously undergone cesarean sections showed that 79 percent were able to deliver vaginally when they did so under careful surveillance."
All these statistics suggest that many doctors are not bothering to wait and see if vaginal delivery can be successful before ruling that a c-section is necessary.
In March, an expert NIH panel called upon doctors to take steps to facilitate more vaginal births after c-section (VBACs), and in July, the American College of Obstetrics released new, "less restrictive" VBAC guidelines.