Health Team

Many Cesarean section surgeries may be unnecessary

Posted May 11, 2012

Almost one in three births in the U.S. are now delivered by c-section.

— A Cesarean section is the most commonly performed surgery in the United States, and the surgery now accounts for nearly one in three births. However, Consumer Reports says that in many cases a C-section is unnecessary.

There are some situations in which a C-section is preferred, especially during a high-risk delivery, but the procedure is a major surgery. In most cases, the safest method for both mother and child is to deliver vaginally.

About 90 percent of women who deliver their first child via C-section also deliver subsequent children by C-section, a factor contributing to the increase of the surgery.

"That doesn't have to happen," Dr. Marvin Lipman, of Consumer Reports, said. "Many women who've had a C-section, especially with a low-transverse incision, are able to have a vaginal birth after C-section. That's known as a V-BAC."

Nearly 1 in 3 babies in the US are delivered via cesarean section Cesarean section surgeries are unnecessary for most mothers

However, some mothers wishing to have a V-BAC delivery could have trouble finding a doctor willing to try one.

"Some doctors don't have the necessary support from their hospital or their malpractice insurance won't cover the procedure. If your doctor is willing to try a V-BAC, make sure that he or she has all the necessary information from a previous C-section," Lipman said.

Consumer Reports also said that in addition to a rise in the number of C-sections, there has also been a dramatic rise in the number of scheduled early deliveries. They recommend in uncomplicated pregnancies to let nature take its course in deciding when the baby should be born.


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  • Cricket at the lake May 21, 2012

    Baby Doctor sueing lawyers, like John Edwards, are the reason so many c sections are performed.

  • htomc42 May 21, 2012

    Thank the ambulance-chasers for this and a variety of unnecessary, expensive medical procedures that are done primarily as a CYA measure and not out of medical necessity.

  • RAA0013 May 18, 2012

    I would argue with those calling c-section a convenience. I had two and the first was an emergency situation. I developed a blood clot after the incision had already been stapled and I had been sent home. The incision had to be re-opened and could not be stitched a second time - had to heal on it's own with lots of gauze packing and tape. Took weeks for the incision to heal. Some of us had no choice...but in light of that those who choose it for convenience are crazy in my opinion! It's a serious surgery and can have some rough consequences.

  • beachlvr0804 May 17, 2012

    This is not news.......I think the media recycles articles when there's nothing else to report on....

  • DAR-Patriot May 16, 2012

    Pregnancy is a normal, natural condition and is not an illness. In most cases it is better for delivery to run on "Mother Nature's Schedule." Women have been birthing babies ever since the race of man has existed and for all but about the last 100 years doctors were not involved and humans are still here. Obviously there are cases where there are complications and medical intervention is necessary but those specific cases do not add up to 1/3 of all births..not even close. Having worked in programs with pregnant women for years I have observed many times things do happen for the doctor's convenience and attention to the demands of their insurance provider...not what is in the best interest of the woman and baby.

  • landscatter May 16, 2012

    My first baby was delivered via C-section. He was a week late, I was induced and I just wasn't dilating nearly 24 hours after my water broke. I was running a fever and they were concerned about infection. I was very disappointed until I was preparing to have my second baby. I went to a different office at a different hospital that had both doctors and midwives. The was a feature of my physiology that would make it difficult to push a baby out that my previous doctor had never pointed out. She said it might be more difficult but I could still have a vaginal birth. I ended up having a successful VBAC. It was that second birth that made me realize that my first baby was not coming out that door. He was too big for how I was built. I believe now that the section saved both of us. I am very thankful that I got the opportunity to have a VBAC because it is what I really wanted.Don't be afraid to shop around for a doctor's office that will listen to your wishes but still look out f

  • scarlett2 May 15, 2012

    I was 23 years old, naive concerning the medical profession. My labor was progressing along then suddenly everything just stopped and the doctor went home. The next morning he showed up for rounds and the labor started back. The doctor told me that I needed a c-section. Later, I found out that he had stopped the labor so he could go home and sleep then started it back when he came to make rounds. I can understand his need to sleep, but thanks to the surgery, I was left with a lifetime of pain and suffering due to bladder injury, adhesions that wrap around my organs, a scar that did not heal well, etc. I wanted more children but due to the constant pain and fear of more damaging c-sections, I chose not to have any more. So my daughter grew up with no siblings, very lonely. Later, I went to work in this field of medicine and realized that he put me through a totally unnecessary surgery. It is not just a routine quick procedure. It has risks; it can damage or even kill a woman.

  • kmanc4s May 15, 2012

    Not surprising. In some cases a C-section is very necessary, but the higher revenue and convenience for all parties involved probably plays into the decision much more than it should.

  • NC Reader May 15, 2012

    I know several babies who would have died without a C-section. In each case there was no clear evidence that the baby was in such trauma, other than that labor "wasn't progressing," according to the doctor.

    brassy -- Really? Golf? Sorry to have to inform you, but that golf thing for doctors is so over. I know many doctors, including OBs, and only a couple play golf. Most spend their non-working hours taking care of their children, volunteering at church, that sort of thing -- and most pay such a high premium for medical malpractice insurance that they don't have as much money lying around as you'd think.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU May 14, 2012

    I'm sure the Puritans will arrive shortly to tell us all when and how we can give birth. Then, they'll get their church involved and they'll vote it into law.

    So, don't care what your doctor says and don't bother trying to decide what's best for you, your body and your family. This decision will soon be made for you. Forcibly.