Birth injuries may decline as cesarean rates decrease

Maryland medical physicians must tailor patient care around sound judgment and responsible actions. After all, the ultimate goal should always be to ensure patient health and well-being. The assumption may be, then, that providing quality medical care eliminates the risk of medical malpractice incidents. What happens, however, when doctors base important medical decisions around the fear of malpractice claims that may arise? There is evidence to suggest that the trend of performing potentially dangerous cesarean deliveries to avoid legal complications is finally beginning to wane.

It is widely understood among members of the medical community that vaginal birth is generally safer for mothers and babies alike. Birth by cesarean section should only be considered in emergency situations because vaginal births typically result in fewer medical complications and risks. Babies born by cesarean delivery may encounter complications such as birth injuries and respiratory issues. Similarly, mothers can develop problems like life-threatening blood clots and infections. Another major consequence of cesarean delivery is that it does not typically allow for future vaginal births once performed on a patient, and complication rates increase with each subsequent C-section.

Despite these risks, cesarean delivery rates were on the rise in states across the country for years. Experts note that some doctors perform unnecessary C-sections out of fear of facing malpractice allegations are not delivering the baby in a timely and safe fashion. That trend may be losing popularity, fortunately.

According to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), first-time cesarean deliveries have decreased at a rate of two percent over a three-year period. Of 19 states surveyed, recent figures reflected those recorded in 2006, with cesarean deliveries being performed less than 22 percent of the time. In fact, some regions of the country have seen C-section rates drop almost 5 percent.

Source:, “First-Time Cesarean Rates Dipped in 2012: CDC,” Steven Reinberg, Jan. 23, 2014

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