1. Worth, Tammy

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Cesarean section rates are still on the rise, according to a new report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Cesarean sections were the most commonly performed operation in U.S. hospitals in 2006.


Data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project revealed that among 4.3 million U.S. births in 2006, 31% of women delivered by cesarean section-up from 21% in 1997. Further, cesarean sections accounted for 45% of the $14.8 billion total cost of deliveries. When there are no complications, cesarean sections average $4,500, whereas vaginal deliveries average $2,600. Cesarean sections are more common among mothers who are insured: 34% of the privately insured, compared with 25% of the uninsured, underwent cesarean sections. The incidence of vaginal births after cesarean section decreased to 10% (compared with 35% in 1997). The use of forceps decreased by 37%, and the number of episiotomies fell by 55% from 1996 to 2006.


The April 2009 report, Hospitalizations Related to Childbirth, 2006, can be found at For more on this topic, see AJN Reports, "Born in the USA."


Tammy Worth