Increasing C-Section Rates Carry Health, Financial Costs

The U.S. rate of cesarean sections is more than double the World Health Organization's recommendation, and the consequences are growing.
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Increasing C-Section Rates Carry Health, Financial Costs

The rate of cesarian sections is on the rise globally, exceeding longstanding guidelines from the World Health Organization.

Since 1985, the organization's recommended rate for C-sections in any given population has been between 10 and 15 percent. (Video via University of Massachusetts Boston)

 That recommendation was made because Northern European countries who had C-section rates in that range had good rates of healthy mothers and newborns. (Video via Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center)

But the U.S. rate is more than double the recommended rate. About one-third of all births in the nation are C-sections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the World Health Organization says populations with C-section rates higher than 10 percent don't have reduced rates of newborn and infant mortality. (Video via St. Mary's Health)

As a writer for Harvard Magazine explains, pregnant women have become heavier and are having children later in life, and they tend to undergo C-sections more frequently. (Video via BBC)

As more women have C-sections, the cost has also increased. A 2013 report from The New York Times says vaginal deliveries cost about $30,000 while C-sections are upwards of $50,000. 

And doctors have concerns about women who elect to have tummy tucks following C-sections, which is an involved procedure that can lead to complications.

As one Mount Sinai Medical Center obstetrician told Yahoo"Most OB-GYNs have zero plastic surgery training, and that's what this involves. It's a significantly bigger surgery than the name implies."

A 2012 study published in the International Journal of Women's Health showed roughly half of participants were satisfied with their post-pregnancy tummy tucks, while roughly one-third were unsatisfied with the shape of their abdomen.

This video includes images from Getty Images.