From the Straits Times:
BIRTHS by Caesarean section in the United States reached an all-time high in 2007 when some 1.4 million babies, or 32 per cent of births, were delivered by C-section, a study showed on Tuesday.
The rate of Caesarean sections jumped by 53 per cent between 1996 and 2007, and the number of births by C-section soared by 71 per cent during the same period, the study released by the National Centre for Health Statistics shows.
In one year during the study period, 2006, Caesarean delivery was the most frequently performed surgical procedure in US hospitals. The rate of Caesarean births - a major surgical procedure in which the infant, placenta and membranes are extracted from the womb through an incision made in the mother's abdominal and uterine walls - rose for women in all age groups and across all ethnic groups.
Women under the age of 25 saw the steepest rise, with C-sections rising by 57 per cent, from 17 per cent of births to 27 per cent between 1996 and 2007. But older women were still the most likely to have babies by Caesarean section: 48 per cent of mothers aged 40-54 years delivered their babies by C-section in 2007, compared to 23 per cent of mothers under 20.
The World Health Organisation says the optimal Caesarean birth rate is 15 per cent. Older maternal age was one reason Caesarean births are on the rise, according to the study.
That was partly because women in their 30s and 40s who interrupt their careers to have a baby, want the birth to fit around their work schedule, said Dr Judith Rossiter, head of obstetrics and gynecology at St Joseph's Medical Centre near Baltimore.