National C-Section Rate Highest Ever, Study Says

More than one in three babies in the U.S. is now delivered by cesarean section, according to a study released today by the hospital quality tracking group HealthGrades. Thirty-four percent of single-baby births in 2009 were done surgically, the highest percentage ever. The study – based on data from 19 states, including California – reflects the growing popularity of C-sections, whose use increased by more than 50 percent from 1996 to 2007. The study also rates individual hospital performance based on maternal care and gynecologic surgery. California ranked eighth among the 19 states in the rate of C-section use, at 32.82 percent.

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