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Induced Births are Declining, Study Reports

Update Date: Jun 19, 2014 09:26 AM EDT
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Advances in medical technology have increased the safety of many surgical procedures. Over the past years, researchers had found that more and more pregnant women were electing for scheduled Cesarean sections when there were no medical reasons involved. Due to concerns over the safety of inducing labor, especially before the fetus reaches full term, health experts and officials have worked hard to increase awareness in order to reduce the rate of elective deliveries. According to a new study, their efforts might have finally paid off.

In this study, the research team discovered that the rate of elective deliveries has fallen. The researchers from the National Center for Health Statistics, which is a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed government data. They found that from 2011 to 2012, the number of induced deliveries for single births fell for the first time in nearly 20 years from 23.7 percent to 23.3 percent. Between 2006 and 2012, the rates of induced deliveries that occurred during weeks 35 to 38 fell in women of different ages and race living across the nation. The researchers had accounted for pregnant women who had induced labor due to medical reasons, such as hypertension and due to personal ones, such as timing.

"There's this feeling that we've done so well with our premature babies, we've been seduced by the advances and think it's safe to induce delivery early," Dr. Edward McCabe, the chief medical officer at March of Dimes told HealthDay News reported by FOX News. "We've ignored the fact that there are significant risks of illness and death in late preterm and early term babies."

The researchers stressed the importance of carrying a fetus to full term. They added that women ideally should not have C-sections if the pregnancy is normal. Even though the study did not identify why the rate of elective deliveries fell, the researchers reasoned that it could be due to doctors' efforts in encouraging their patients to wait.

The report, "Recent Declines in Induction of Labor by Gestational Age," can be found here.

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