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American College
of  Community Midwives

A professional organization

General Content

Statistical Reports 
on CS & VBAC rate
from CDC and other sources of Vital Stats 





Preliminary birth data for 2003 by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics ~ 
Posted 11/ 2004

Report of Canadian Study of 308,775 births after previous CS -- Conclusion Elective CS saves babies but increases maternal mortality

Cesarean Mortality Statistics & Hospital Use Information

Top 15 Discharge Diagnoses 1992 - California Hospitals - OSHPD 1995

Posted November 24, 2004

Preliminary birth data for 2003 was released by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics  (www.cdc.gov/nchs/).  Among the troubling findings:

• The cesarean delivery rate rose for the seventh straight year.  Preliminary 2003 data show that 27.6 percent of all births were cesarean deliveries, a marked 6% increase in one year (from 2002).
• States with cesarean rate over 30% included FL, KY, LA, MS, NJ, TX, and WV.
• Since 1996, the primary (first-time) cesarean rate has climbed 31% and the VBAC rate has plunged 63%.  The 2003 VBAC rate was only 10.6%.
• The percent of babies born pre-term or low birth weight also continued to increase.

ICAN President Tonya Jamois is available for media interviews to provide context and consumer comment regarding the rise in cesareans.  
Contact president@ican-online.org or (760) 744-5260.

According to a newly published Canadian study of 308,755 mothers who gave birth from 1988 to 2000 after a previous Cesarean section, maternal in-hospital death was significantly higher in elective repeat cesarean group (5.6 per 100,000) than the trial of labor group (1.6 per 100,000). This means that maternal death is 3 1/2 times greater with elective repeat C/S.

While uterine rupture rate (0.65%) blood transfusions (0.19%) and emergency hysterectomy rate (0.10%) were slightly higher for women who had a trial of labor, one must consider that these statistics cover years in which it was customary to use Cytotec and other cervical ripening drugs and Pitocin to induce or augment post-cesarean labors, factors which can increase uterine rupture up to 12 times over normal spontaneous labor w/o uterine stimulants.

Study Conclusion reads: "Trial of labor is associated with increased risk of uterine rupture but elective cesarean section may increase the risk of maternal death". (emphasis added)

[ editorial comment on the above study conclusion  -- notice the forcefully stated conclusion about trial of labor, in which they state conclusively " is associated with increased risk of uterine rupture", while the same study statistics are related to as only tentative or non-conclusive about the risks of elective repeat cesarean section (ERCS) in language that says "may increase the risk of maternal death". ] For reasons that are not clear to the reader, the statistical evidence associated with TOL uterine rupture is given more credence by the authors than the same set of statistics reporting ERCS maternal deaths.

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