Major Medical Groups Want Fewer C-Sections
Cesarean births, or "C-sections," account for about a third of all deliveries in the United States, but some of the nation's top doctors say that's too many.
A C-section is often performed to help a baby at risk. During the past 15 years, the number of C-sections has climbed more than 60 percent.
Now, doctors at two major medical societies are looking to reduce that rate. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine are urging both women and doctors to have more patience during labor.
They say that while the surgeries may help newborns, they sharply increase the risk of complications for the mothers.
"My incision did not heal. I wasn't able to breast feed due to this, I also had a little bit of post-partum depression. I think it was increased because of this," Erica Cabrera said.
The death rate of mothers who undergo a C-section is three times higher than those who give birth naturally.
Many C-sections aren't necessary, but doctors opt for the surgery hoping to head off birthing complications.
"We live in the reality of litigation and so I think sometimes obstetricians are leaning toward 'If I did the C-section, this is done and I'm okay,'" Dr. R. Gerald Zarlengo said.
According to the World Health Organization, C-sections are only needed in about 10 to 15 percent of deliveries.
They say it's especially important for first time moms to let nature take its course. Women who deliver naturally the first time can often do it again with later children.