The CDC released its preliminary report on 2009 U.S. birth data this week, and the following finding is likely to be of interest to our readers:
The cesarean delivery rate rose to 32.9 percent in 2009, another record high.
This was a 2 percent increase over the previous year; the report indicates that the rate of cesarean is up nearly 60 percent since 1996. The increase was largest among non-Hispanic black women (up 3 percent), and women age 40 and over (half of all births in this group were by cesarean).
Preterm births declined for 2009, for the third year in a row. Other findings include a slight decline in the overall birth rate from 2008, a 6 percent decline in births to teenagers, and overall declines among every racial/ethnic category and almost every age group. Women age 40 to 44 were the only group whose birth rate increased in 2009, up 3 percent from 2008.
The report does not speculate as to the reasons for these decreases, but it’s hard not to wonder if economic conditions were a factor.