C-sections at record high; teen births at record low

From Times Wire Services

The Caesarean delivery rate for U.S. women hit a record high in 2005 while teen births fell to a new low, government health officials said Tuesday.

Close to a third of all babies born in the United States -- 30.2% in 2005, up from 29.1% in 2004 -- were delivered surgically in a procedure also commonly called a C-section, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. The number of C-sections has jumped 46% in the last decade and is increasing for women of all ages and races.

C-sections are favored when doctors believe vaginal delivery could cause medical complications, but they have become increasingly common for what would be considered normal births. The increase comes amid a controversy over whether some women are opting for medically unnecessary C-sections out of convenience and whether some doctors are performing them out of fear of being sued.


The birthrate for teens 15 to 19 fell 2% in 2005 from the previous year, to 40.4 births per 1,000, the lowest level since such statistics were first collected in 1940.

Contraception and a delay in sexual activity appear to play a role in the teen birthrate decline, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Still, the U.S. teen birthrate is the highest among industrialized countries.


Reuters and the Associated Press were used in compiling this report.