After 12 years of consecutive increases, the preliminary cesarean delivery rate for single-child births was unchanged from 2009 to 2011, at 31.3%, according to a CDC report.
Cesarean delivery rates decreased more than 5% among births at 38 weeks of gestation while increasing 4% among births at 39 weeks.
The decrease in the rate at 38 weeks covered non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black and Hispanic women, and all maternal age groups. The increase at 39 weeks likewise spanned the leading demographics.
The reports authors, with the CDCs National Center for Health Statistics, noted that the rate had increased by almost 60%, from 19.7% of all single-child births, between 1996-97 and 2009.
The subsequent stabilization may have resulted from a recent policy emphasis on reducing early deliveries, according to the authors. For example, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists “developed clinical guidelines for reducing the occurrence of nonmedically-indicated cesarean delivery and labor induction prior to 39 weeks. Efforts to reduce such births include initiatives to improve perinatal care quality, changes in hospital policy to disallow elective delivery prior to 39 weeks, and education of the public.”
Read the report: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db124.htm.