Rate of Caesarian Sections Steadily Increasing

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A new study shows that Caesarian sections account for about 1/3 of births in the U.S. And that number is expected to rise. Is the C-Section becoming the new natural and safe way to give birth? We want to hear from you: what's so natural about "natural" birth, anyway?

The study, published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, reveals that the main reason women have c-sections is because they've given birth via c-section in the past.  Also, drugs are being used more often to induce labor and induced labor, as opposed to spontaneous labor, is twice as likely to result in a c-section.  

Dr. Randi Hutter Epstein, author of "Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank,"says doctors' fear of malpractice lawsuits are behind the rising number of Caesarian sections.  Hutter Epstein says many doctors think, "You're never going to get sued for doing a c-section -- only for not doing one."

Dr. Mitchell Maiman, Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Staten Island University Hospital in New York, advocates avoiding c-sections, if vaginal births are possible.  Maiman says his hospital has very strict protocols and guidelines, when it comes to inductions of labor.  There is also an emphasis on educating women about the potential risks involved with c-sections.  And, if a the surgery is performed in the hospital, Maiman says, "We review every c-section to make sure there was a correct indication."

Some comments for our Facebook page:

Lynn Golden: I beg your pardon...I have experienced both a vaginal birth and a c-section. The first one almost killed me - literally, hence the second one. Are you implying that getting a child out of your body should only be achieved in one way? I will concede that unless one uses absolutely NO medical assistance...i.e. birth at home, with no mid-wife or doula, and no pain relief, and no post-childbirth treatment, then a woman has not had a "natural" birth. However, in many cases, c-section is not only desirable, it is necessary, and those mothers participate in childbirth as well...and as someone who took 8 weeks to recuperate and dealt with 2 1/2 hours of separation from her child after a c-section, there was absolutely NOTHING easy about it.

That said, I remember my OB telling me at some point in BOTH deliveries "Whatever it takes to get that baby out safely and keep the Mama around to take care of that baby..." Yes, c-section for vanity or convenience IS distasteful...but we are lucky that we have this option, as opposed to the alternative.

Rachel Melat-Robnett: My daughter was born vaginally, it was an extremely difficult labor, nearly 72 hours, and my doctor wanted me to have a c-section. Even through all the pain I stuck to my guns and refused, although I did eventually have an epidural. Of my friends and family with children, I am one of the only mothers who has NOT had a c-section!