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C-sections Blamed for Increase in Prematurity

Armen Hareyan's picture

A new report says Cesarean sections (C-sections) have helped increase the number of premature infants born in the United States. To those who follow news about prematurity, it's no secret the number of preemies born each year is on the rise, and this new report by the March of Dimes, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, concludes that C-sections account for about half of this increase.

"Researchers looked at national birth data from 1996 to 2004, and found an increase of almost 60,000 singleton preterm births, most of those delivered by C-section. 'The analysis revealed that 92 percent of the increase in singleton premature birth is due to C-sections,' Fleischman said. 'That is an amazing statistic.'"

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The report emphasizes that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines should be followed, and no baby should be induced or delivered by C-section before 39 weeks gestation. Doing otherwise increases the baby's chances of having medical problems.

The study did not conclude whether the mothers or the babies who were born by C-section might have had medical problems that would have caused the infants to be born preterm even without a C-section.

SOURCES: "C-Sections Explain Jump in U.S. Preemie Births," Washington Post, AND "Cesarean Delivery: It's Impact on the Mother and Newborn," Clinics in Perinatology, www.perinatology.theclinics.com/current