More C-sections are now done closer to due date

ATLANTA (AP) — A new government report finds what appears to be a significant shift in when pregnant women have C-sections.

The number of C-sections done has stopped increasing and more of the operations are happening closer to the mother’s due date.

Experts call the change great news, saying doctors and women have apparently absorbed warnings about the risks of C-sections and the importance of waiting to deliver until the baby is full-term.

A C-section is major surgery with risks, including death in very rare cases.

For decades, the operations were done in only a small fraction of births, usually only when a fetus was in danger. In 1970, the U.S. rate was 5 percent of all births.

By 2009, about a third of births were C-sections. Experts say one factor among many was the convenience of scheduling deliveries. That rate is unchanged.

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%@AP Links

354-c-22-(Ross Simpson, AP correspondent)-”as great news”-AP correspondent Ross Simpson reports the C-section rate for single births continues to hold steady. (26 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *354 (06/26/13)££ 00:22 “as great news”

353-c-17-(Ross Simpson, AP correspondent)-”other medical problems”-AP correspondent Ross Simpson reports birth by cesarean section is not risk free. (26 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *353 (06/26/13)££ 00:17 “other medical problems”

352-v-32-(Ross Simpson, AP correspondent)–Figures show what appears to be a significant shift in when pregnant women have cesarean sections. AP correspondent Ross Simpson reports. (26 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *352 (06/26/13)££ 00:32

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