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U.S. doctors may perform too many C-sections

North Carolina couples who are expecting a child may not know that the United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates among the wealthy nations of the world. Some medical experts believe that this is linked to the fact that the U.S. performs so many cesarean sections.

Nearly 33 percent of all births in the U.S. are C-sections. However, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in late 2015, the optimum lifesaving rate for C-sections is approximately 19 percent. The procedure shows diminishing benefits at higher rates.

There are some reasons why U.S. doctors perform so many more cesarean sections than are recommended. Experts say one reason is that private insurance companies pay more for C-sections than they do for natural childbirths, which leads some doctors to follow the money. Another reason is that natural births take longer than C-sections, tempting some doctors to deliver more babies via C-section so they can fit more deliveries into their workday and make more money. Finally, some doctors believe that performing C-sections when there is the slightest doubt of the baby's health protects them from lawsuits. However, unneeded C-sections can also put them at risk of being sued. Experts are calling for doctors to use more care when evaluating which women and babies would truly benefit from a cesarean delivery.

A botched childbirth could result in a woman or her baby being seriously injured. A parent who is in this situation may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney and discuss how best to seek compensation for the losses that have been and are foreseen to be sustained.

Source: The Federalist, "The High U.S. C-Section Rate Could Endanger Lives," Erika Wesley, Jan. 13, 2016

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