Nearly one-third of the 4.3 million U.S. childbirths in 2006 were c-sections, compared with one-fifth in 1997, the federal government reported Wednesday.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's latest News and Numbers also said that the percentage of American women having a repeat cesarean section increased 25 percent between 1997 and 2006, from 65 percent to 90 percent.
Among the other findings:
* C-sections cost more than vaginal deliveries -- $4,500 vs. $2,600 in deliveries without complications, and $6,100 vs. $3,500 in deliveries with complications.
* While c-sections account for 31 percent of all deliveries, they account for 45 percent of all costs associated with delivery.
* Among women with private insurance, c-sections account for 34 percent of deliveries, compared with 25 percent of deliveries by women without insurance.
The News and Numbers article is based on an analysis of data in the Hospitalizations Related to Childbirth, 2006 report, which uses statistics from the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample.