Preliminary 2009 Birth Data Released - Another Record High for Cesareans

December 22, 2010

The CDC released its preliminary report on 2009 U.S. birth data this week, and the following finding is likely to be of interest to our readers:

The cesarean delivery rate rose to 32.9 percent in 2009, another record high.

This was a 2 percent increase over the previous year; the report indicates that the rate of cesarean is up nearly 60 percent since 1996. The increase was largest among non-Hispanic black women (up 3 percent), and women age 40 and over (half of all births in this group were by cesarean).

Preterm births declined for 2009, for the third year in a row. Other findings include a slight decline in the overall birth rate from 2008, a 6 percent decline in births to teenagers, and overall declines among every racial/ethnic category and almost every age group. Women age 40 to 44 were the only group whose birth rate increased in 2009, up 3 percent from 2008.

The report does not speculate as to the reasons for these decreases, but it’s hard not to wonder if economic conditions were a factor.

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