Cesarean-section births on rise nationally; stats worrisome for health of mother and child

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C-sections accounted for nearly one out of three births in the US in 2008 and African American mothers were most likely to deliver their babies that way.

Those were among the findings of a just-released report from the National Center for Health Statistics and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The report, published in the journal Pediatrics, also found that since 1996 the cesarean rate has soared a whopping 56 percent.

“I personally don't think it's a good thing,” George Macones, vice chairman of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and an obstetrician at Washington University told Time magazine.“The rate is going up but we are not really improving the health of babies or moms.”

The rise in C-sections is of concern because vaginal birth is generally safer. But some women — and doctors — prefer to schedule delivery. And doctors and hospitals concerned about skyrocketing medical malpractice rates have increasingly turned to cesareans rather than risk a bad outcome via vaginal birth. In some areas, it can be difficult if not impossible to find a doctor who will agree to let a woman attempt a vaginal birth after cesarean due to worries about uterine rupture, Time reported.

"Any woman having a baby should care about the cesarean rate,” said Desirre Andrews, president of the International Cesarean Awareness Network, an advocacy group that promotes vaginal birth. “They should be concerned about the likelihood of ending up in the OR because we know what is healthiest is unfettered birth. Women are starting to believe they can't have babies. It's becoming the cultural norm for women to believe they're broken.”

Other findings from the study:

* African American women had more C-sections than any other group — 34.5 percent delivered via cesarean compared to 32 percent of whites and 31 percent of Hispanics.
* Teen births declined by 2 percent; rates had increased in 2006 and 2007.
* For the first time since 1978, births to women between 35 and 39 declined — if only by 1 percent.
* Births to women between 20 and 39 also dropped, but births to women ages 40 to 49, rose.
* Fewer babies were born too soon: the preterm birth rate decreased by 3 percent to 12.3 percent.
* Fewer babies died: the infant mortality rate dropped by 2 percent.
* Unintentional injuries were responsible for 39 percent of deaths in children ages 1 to 19.

Attorneys of Ross Feller Casey, LLP has built a remarkable record of victories in birth injury related cases, amassing a long list of seven- and eight-figure verdicts and settlements. They include:

$22 million verdict in a birth injury case involving blood arriving late for a transfusion
$12 million recovery in a birth injury case
$8 million settlement for a child who suffered a brain injury due to a delay in delivery
$7 million recovery for a child left with cerebral palsy as a result of obstetrical negligence
$7 million settlement for a woman who died just after delivering a baby
$6 million settlement for an infant who suffered brain damage because a nurse midwife and nurses failed to manage fetal distress during labor
$5.5 million recovery for a child who was brain injured at birth because an obstetrician failed to recognize signs of placental abruption
•$5.5 million settlement for the family of a 23-year-old woman who died after giving birth to her daughter

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