Cesarean delivery of a baby—or C-section—is the most commonly performed surgery in the world.
Rising C-section rates are a problem all over the world—but it’s particularly notable in the United States.
C-sections have skyrocketed in the U.S. since the mid-1970s. In just one generation, this country’s C-section rate has increased 500%.
One in three babies are now born via C-section—compare that one in 20 in the mid-70s.
And a mother who has a C-section for her first delivery is overwhelmingly more likely to have C-sections for future deliveries.
And while it’s incredibly common—it’s still major surgery—with a range of potential complications such as hemorrhage or infection.
It’s estimated that nearly half of C-sections may be avoidable—but to prevent them, researchers need to find out what exactly is driving the dramatic increase in their use.
(click the link above to listen to the podcast from Harvard School of Public Health)