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Medical groups issue paper that asks doctors to avoid C-sections

There is no denying the fact that a cesarean section can be convenient. Instead of having to wait and wait for a baby to come, parents can schedule a C-section. Instead of having to go through a long labor, mothers can have a C-section and be taken to recovery. Though convenient, C-sections should only be used when absolutely necessary, and according to the World Health Organization, countries should not have C-section rates higher than 15 percent. The U.S., however, delivers one in three children by C-section.

Not only do C-sections potentially expose children to higher risks of asthma, juvenile diabetes, breathing problems and allergies, the procedure can also seriously injure mothers. In some cases, if a mother is hurt in the process of a having a C-section, she may sue her obstetrician for personal injury.

One reason that researchers believe has caused the spike in the number of C-sections is medical professionals' fear of medical malpractice lawsuits. Some doctors are quick to recommend C-sections if there is a risk that a delay in birth could cause a birth injury. If doctors were better able to tell when C-sections were actually necessary, however, this could potentially be avoided.

In an effort to clarify things, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine have issued joint guidelines to help reduce the number of C-sections. They say that mothers may need to be in labor longer or push harder before a doctor recommends a C-section.

One problem they may face, however, is that C-sections are more profitable for physicians and hospitals than vaginal births.

Source: Public Radio International, "Why are Cesarean sections so common when most agree they shouldn't be?" Tory Starr, May 12, 2014

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