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C-sections up, overall births down in 2008
December 20th, 2010
12:01 AM ET

C-sections up, overall births down in 2008

4,251,095 babies were born in the United States in 2008, according to the latest statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is about 2% fewer than in the previous record-setting year. But about a third or 32.3% of these newborns came into this world by way of cesarean sections – a 2% increase – which marks the twelfth consecutive year that the number of c-sections has gone up.
Although the rate has gone up more than 50% compared with 1996, the increased number of women delivering their babies this way has been slowing, says Joyce Martin, one of the CDC’s epidemiologists who crunched the numbers for a report published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Each year the American Academy of Pediatrics publishes an “annual summary of vital statistics” that compiles a variety of data. For example, in 2008:

  • total fertility: down 2% to 2085.5 births per 1000 women
  • birth rate for teenagers down 2%
  • birth rates for women between the ages of 20 and 39 decreased 1-3% – . Researchers say for the first time in 30 years, the number of births in the 35-39 age group declined – by 1%.
  • births to women age 40-44 increased by 4% – 9.9 births per 1000 women – the highest rate since 1967

Martin was encouraged by the 2008 statistics for preterm births (babies born before 37 weeks of gestation). “It went down for the 2nd straight year,” she says. “That’s a really good thing. Martin says the rates had been going up steadily from 1981 to 2006, peaking at 12.8% in 2006. Now it’s down to 12.3. That may seem like a small decline, but to those who study this data this trend is encouraging. “We're really hopeful,” says Martin.
Babies born too early are aren’t fully grown yet and therefore at risk for many health problems, including breathing problems due to underdeveloped lungs, other underdeveloped organs, greater risk of infections.

More details about this report can be found at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org.


soundoff (120 Responses)
  1. MAC

    Women today seem to pick and chose who is involved in decisions based on their own needs. Most women will insist that the decision about keeping a baby is solely that of the woman. However if her husband chooses to purchase something expensive for himself, than that decision should have been made by both parties. So it seems the purchase of something is more important that the bringing of a child into the world.

    December 20, 2010 at 13:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. MAC

    Also, if it is "your decision" as many claim...perhaps you should "decide" to not get pregnant.

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    • JSM

      Some people do choose to not get pregnant. However most forms of birth control aren't always 100% accurate. Antibiotics counteract birth control pills and condoms break. A woman can take every responible measure to ensure not getting pregnant and it still happens.

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