The risks associated with Cesarean sections far outweigh those associated with traditional vaginal births. This raises questions about why the C-section rate continues to rise across the United States. Currently, the rate of C-section births far exceeds that recommended by the World Health Organization, even though that C-sections carry a much higher risk of infection, surgical injury and other serious complications.
According to USA Today, there is a broad disparity among U.S. hospitals in terms of what percentage of the women who give birth there do so via C-section.
C-section rates and trends
Since the mid-1980s, the World Health Organization has attested that babies should be born via C-section, ideally, in about 10% to 15% of all instances. Nationwide, though, the C-section birth rate exceeded 31% in 2018. Some hospitals had C-section rates as high as 60%. However, research showed that the hospitals with higher C-section rates did not see improved outcomes for either mothers or babies.
Per the results of a 2019 study, the risk of complications during birth or after delivery is 80% higher when a woman has a C-section, as opposed to a vaginal delivery. Delivering mothers who are over 35 are almost three times as likely to experience severe complications with a C-section delivery, as opposed to a traditional one. While C-sections may lead to a variety of issues, some of the more common complications include hemorrhaging, blood clots, anesthesia issues and other serious complications.
Some safety advocates attest that, when C-sections are truly necessary, they present fewer risks to the mother and child than a traditional birth. The fact that women who undergo C-sections have a much higher risk of complications suggests that many C-section deliveries are unnecessary.