Nearly half of C-sections in US aren't medically necessary, Consumer Reports says

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Consumer Reports says nearly half of C-sections performed in the U.S. are not medically necessary. (Consumer Reports)

Roughly one in three babies born in the U.S. are delivered by Cesarean section, but medical researchers said about half of those aren't medically necessary. Consumer Reports has suggestions on how to reduce your risk of an unnecessary C-section.

Low risk pregnancy patient, Colleen Scott, planned to have a vaginal delivery with her first child. But that's not what happened.

"The decision was made by the doctor on call that it doesn't look like the baby is going to come out naturally and it seems like the best solution would be to do the C-section," Scott recalled.

That's decision is happening more often than it used to. Sometimes doctors or hospitals may rush a C-section simply because they think labor has gone on long enough or because the maternity ward is especially busy.

"Your biggest risk of having an unnecessary C-section could actually be the hospital where you choose to give birth," according to Lauren Friedman with Consumer Reports.

To reduce your risk of an unnecessary C-section, Consumer Reports offers some suggestions.

"One thing you can do is check-out our free hospital ratings online," Friedman said.

That lets you compare hospitals based on how often they perform C-sections for low-risk cases.

Consumer Reports also said if you have a low-to-moderate-risk pregnancy, think about using a midwife. They don't do surgery and they'll only transfer you to a doctor if it's medically necessary.

Also don't rush to the hospital. Talk to you doctor or midwife and ask if you can wait until your contractions are three minutes apart, last for one minute and have been like that for one hour.

And Consumer Reports said once you're at the hospital, don't rush to induce labor.

"On its own there's not necessarily a problem with a long labor as long as both mom and baby are doing OK," Friedman explained.

You can get Consumer Reports' free hospital ratings to see the scores for the hospitals in Southern California here.

Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization that does not accept advertising and does not have any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.
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