In many cases, a C-section birth is absolutely necessary. But often it is not: Researchers estimate that in almost half of the cesareans performed in the U.S, the babies could have been safely delivered vaginally instead.
Performing a C-section when it isn’t necessary poses avoidable risks to the mother and her child and needlessly raises costs, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, the nation’s two leading medical organizations that focus on childbirth.
To highlight the problem, Consumer Reports recently investigated C-section birth rates in more than 1,200 hospitals across the country. We focused on first-time mothers who should be at low risk of needing a cesarean: pregnant women expecting just one child whose babies are delivering at full-term in the proper position, which means coming out head first.