New Cesarean Prevention Recommendations from Obstetric Leaders: What Pregnant Women Need to Know

In March 2014, the two leading obstetric professional organizations in the United States issued a landmark joint consensus statement. The statement says that cesarean birth is overused in the United States. More and more cesareans now one in three births have not led to better health for mothers and babies. While this procedure offers clear benefits in some situations, it appears to pose greater risk for quite a few problems in women and babies in low-risk pregnancies. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine identify many ways to safely reduce the chance of cesarean birth. They focus on preventing primary or initial cesareans in pregnant women who have never had a cesarean.

The focus on preventing cesareans that offer no clear benefit is good for women and babies. When hospitals and maternity care providers reliably follow the recommendations in this welcome statement, our high cesarean rate will fall. But, health care practice changes slowly. All parties, including women, have a role in ensuring that the best care is provided. To help pregnant women prepare to talk with their maternity care providers and make good care decisions, this guide summarizes the new recommendations. It also adds a few more practices that can reduce the chance of cesarean and gives links for learning more.

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PDF of Cesarean Prevention