In a bid to reduce rates of cesarean sections that have climbed more than 60 percent in the past 15 years, two major medical societies issued new guidelines.
Obstetricians around the country are urging a bit more patience in the delivery room, as unnecessary C-section can be potentially unhealthy if they are not needed in the first place.
Two high-profile medical groups, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, recently put out guidelines for obstetricians, saying that they should give first-time mothers more of a chance for a natural birth rather than opting for a C-section to save time.
Not only were the guidelines established to reduce the number of C-sections for first-time mothers, but they also aim to lower the national number of C-sections that are being performed each year.
Aaron B. Caughey, MD, member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who helped put the guidelines together, explained that for many women, the issue is that they simply need more time for a successful natural delivery.
He notes that many women who have a C-section during their first pregnancy are more likely to have a C-section with subsequent births, a practice that the guidelines are attempting to curtail. Dr. Caughey explains, “By preventing the first cesarean delivery, we should be able to reduce the nation’s overall cesarean delivery rate.”
According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, in 2011, one out of every three women gave birth via a C-section, which is a 60 percent increase since 1996. Today, nearly 60 percent of C-section births are for first-time mothers.
Although research has shown that a C-section can be crucial in some cases for the mother and/or baby, the large increase in this type of birth is concerning as it is being overused, and there is no clear evidence that shows improved maternal or newborn outcomes associated with a C-section birth.
Vincenzo Berghella, MD, president of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, suggests that for the majority of low-risk pregnancies, “cesarean delivery may pose greater risk than vaginal delivery, especially risks related to future pregnancies.”