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The Rise of Repeat C-Sections: PART 2

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(Continued from "The Rise of Repeat C-Sections: PART 1)

In 2006, Sakala’s organization published a survey by researchers at Boston University that found that out of 1600 women who had recently given birth by C-section, only one had requested a planned C-section for no medical reason.

Another study by the same group found that the rate of C-sections is increasing among all women, regardless of age, number or babies they are having, or the extend of their health problems.

The organization’s website instead suggests a fundamental shift in the standard of care, “a change in practice standards that reflects an increasing willingness on the part of professionals to follow the cesarean path under all conditions.”

Dr. John Thorp, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and director of the Women’s Primary Healthcare Division at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine argues that there are other, more scientific reasons behind the growing trend.

“The delaying of childbearing by women to accomplish career goals and the epidemic of obesity are both independent and often highly correlated risk factors for abdominal delivery,” says Thorp.

Earlier this year, Thorp and his colleagues published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine on the effects of elective, repeat C-sections on the babies of these women. The study showed that in babies delivered before the full 40 weeks of gestation, but still “at term” (that is, after 37-weeks, when fetal lungs should be mature enough to function), major complications like bacterial blood infections, respiratory distress and death can still arise.

These findings are particularly significant given that a large percentage of all C-sections are elective and that the majority of all elective procedures are repeats. The results suggest that the answer to why the C-section rate is climbing lies somewhere in the fact that very few women re-attempt birth the old fashioned way on their second go-around.

Vaginal birth after Cesarean (or VBAC) is a procedure that only 10 percent of all eligible women attempt, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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