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Pregnancy trends: 1 in 3 U.S. babies born by C-section; experts say number will rise. Here's why.

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That’s correct. One out of every three babies born in the United States is born by Cesarean section, a 50% jump from the last decade.

That means if you and two of your friends are pregnant, odds are that one of you will have a C-section.

"We think the rate is going to go up even more," Hope Ricciotti, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, told CNN Health.

An excerpt:

“When the procedure is needed -- when the mother or baby is in distress or other factors make a vaginal delivery hazardous -- it can be a lifesaver. But only about 5 percent of C-sections are true emergencies, estimates George Macones, M.D., chairman of the depart¬ment of obstetrics and gynecology at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, in Missouri. Around 3 percent are completely elective, meaning there's no medical reason whatsoever, but the vast majority of C-sections actually fall into a gray zone: the baby looks big, mom is past her due date, labor isn't progressing well.”


This is a new story, and yet it’s not. The rate has increased in every decade. Part of it is because our technology is better, the story says – we have the ability to detect problems earlier and in more detail. There are also older moms, more overweight moms and more multiple births. There are more labor inductions, which more often result in C-sections. More women are scheduling C-section deliveries ahead of time, some due to necessity, others to convenience. Malpractice concerns play a part.

And once you have a C-section, you are more likely to have others. So there’s a domino effect.

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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.