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New Guidelines Call for Fewer C-Sections

Update Date: Feb 20, 2014 11:09 AM EST

New guidelines released by two major medical societies are pushing doctors to be more patient in the delivery rooms. The guidelines drafted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommended doctors with healthy pregnant patients to wait and allow nature take its course before choosing to perform a Caesarean section (C-section).

"Labor takes a little longer than we may have thought," said Dr. Aaron Caughey, who co-authored the guidelines for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reported by Philly.

He added, according to ABC News, "Evidence now shows that labor actually progresses slower than we thought in the past, so many women might just need a little more time to labor and deliver vaginally instead of moving to a cesarean delivery."

The report stated that more evidence revealed that the range of time for a woman to be in labor could be a lot broader than previously presumed. For patients who have had an overall healthy pregnancy, doctors should stop watching the clock. The researchers also stated that doctors should not perform a C-section immediately if the baby is in a breech position, which occurs when the feet and the head have reversed their positions. The authors recommend doctors to try to turn the baby around by using external pressure.

According to the guidelines, mothers who undergo a C-section have a death rate that is tripled the rate for mothers who have a natural birth. The researchers concluded that if a woman does not need a C-section, doctors should try their hardest to avoid doing the procedure.

"Most women who have had a cesarean with their first baby end up having repeat cesarean deliveries for subsequent babies, and this is what we're trying to avoid," said Caughey. "By preventing the first cesarean delivery, we should be able to reduce the nation's overall cesarean delivery rate."

Within the past 15 years, the rate of C-sections has increased by over 60 percent. Roughly one in three women have a C-section. Even though C-sections are a lot safer today than they were years ago, performing surgery in general can increase risks of complications for the mother and child. The authors of the report did say that clearly in some situations, a C-section is the top choice.

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