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Researchers note 'significant increase' in cesarean births

PASADENA — More women are having cesarean births, especially black women, according to a Kaiser Permanente study released recently.

The study showed a significant increase in cesareans among all groups over the past 10 years, but African-American women had significantly higher rates than whites, while the increase among Latino women was smaller.

The 10-year surge in cesareans led researchers to conclude that something other than known risk factors such as fetal distress or smoking during pregnancy caused the increase. Researchers did not speculate on why the increase was most pronounced among black women.

It is believed to be the first study to look at the ethnic and racial differences – as well as the 10-year increase – among first-time mothers receiving cesarean sections.

The report, “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Trends in Primary Cesarean Delivery Based on Indications,” was prepared by Kaiser’s Department of Research and Evaluation and published in the October issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

“This study underscores the importance of educating expectant women about the potential impact of [cesarean sections] on the outcome of future pregnancies,” said lead author Dr. Darious Getahun.


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