The chances a woman will give birth through Caesarean section appears to depend much more on who her doctor is than on other criteria, a new study concluded last week.
Dr. Gregory Goyert and his colleagues at Sinai Hospital of Detroit studied 1,533 women who had babies at a community hospital in an affluent Detroit suburb in 1986 and 1987.
The researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that the 11 doctors who performed the deliveries varied widely in how likely they were to use Caesarean sections, even though their patients did not vary significantly.
The chances a woman in the study would have a Caesarean varied from 1 in 3 to 1 in 10, depending on who her doctor was, the researchers said.
“We conclude that individual practice style may be an important determinant of the wide variations in the rates of Caesarean delivery among obstetricians,” the researchers wrote.
The study also found the babies delivered through Caesarean did not do significantly better than those who were not, suggesting that many of the procedures were unnecessary.