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C-Section Rates Growing in America

The number of Caesarian births climbed to a record high 29 percent in America in 2004, fueled in part by mothers who prefer to deliver their babies that way, even when they don't need to. In fact, limited information suggests the number of women requesting C-sections versus natural childbirth is growing, due to fear of complications or the desire for control, according to an independent panel overseen by the National Institutes of Health.

Even though the panel did recommend that women who wanted to bear several children not to have C-sections, they refused to discourage their routine practice altogether. That lukewarm reaction has spurred great concern among experts, me included, who believe mothers will opt for C-sections regardless of need or safety.

Dig deeper into the report (free PDF below), however, and you'll learn Caesarians aren't for every woman, says the chief of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and a panel co-sponsor.

C-section babies miss out on a great many things, including the natural stimulation that comes from moving down the birth canal and the hormones released during a vaginal birth.

Although there are situations that call for a C-section, there's many things an expecting mother can do to minimize her need for one:

USA Today March 30, 2006

NIH Consensus Development Program March 29, 2006 Free PDF Report

MSNBC March 27, 2006

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