Perspectives

Cesarean Sections Account for One-Third of the Baby Deliveries in the USA


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Medical historian Jacqueline H. Wolf, a professor at Ohio University, has just authored a new book tracing the history of the use of Cesarean Section baby deliveries in the United States noting a definite upward trend in the 21st Century.
The book, “Cesarean Section: An American History of Risk, Technology, and Consequence,” explores the history of the C-Section from the 19th century until today.
Wolf tells Spectrum podcast that Cesarean births rose in the United States by 455 percent from 4.5 percent to 25 percent for the period between 1965 and 1987. The growth has continued and now the rate for the procedure is one-third of all American births – one of every three.
This is twice what is recommended by the World Health Organization.
Although sometimes a C-Section is necessary for the welfare of the baby or the mother, too often it is used as a matter of convenience, according to Wolf. She details many of the risks associated with Cesarean deliveries compared to vaginal births and according to many, they are over-used.
The book has received impressive reviews. Recently Slate.com called the book “Absorbing,” “Plainly excellent,” and said “Its vividness is unrivaled.”
Jennifer Grayson, author of “Unlatched: The Evolution of Breastfeeding and the Making of a Controversy” said: “With meticulous research and sweeping insight, Jacqueline Wolf unfolds the unfathomable: how, over the course of a mere century, human beings normalized surgery as the means of bringing babies into the world. ‘Cesarean Section’ is an urgent wake-up call.”
This is Wolf’s third book. She already has written “Don’t Kill Your Baby: Public Health and the Decline of Breastfeeding in the 19th and 20th Centuries” and “Deliver Me from Pain: Anesthesia and Birth in American.”
This book is published by Johns Hopkins University Press.