C-sections rise again around the region
The number of cesarean section births in the Philadelphia region is continuing to rise, paralleling the national trend.
The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported the number of c-section births rose to 1.3 million in 2005, up from 800,000 in 1995.
That's a 62 percent increase.
Locally, the percentage of c-sections rose to 31 percent of the 64,436 children born in the eight-county Philadelphia region in 2005, according to an Inquirer analysis of hospital billing records.
The numbers continued to increase in 2006. That year, 32 percent of the 65,820 children born in the region were delivered by c-section.
A decade earlier, just 20 percent, or 12,267, of the nearly 62,000 births in the eight counties were by cesarean section.
There were ongoing differences within the region: Cesareans accounted for 34 percent of all births at hospitals in New Jersey's Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties in 2006 compared with 31 percent in Pennsylvania's Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia County hospitals.
The federal report noted that while C-sections at one time were performed primarily when a vaginal delivery would put the baby or mother at risk of death, the surgical procedure is increasingly performed in "births that would otherwise have been normal."
Contact staff writer Josh Goldstein at 215-854-4733 or firstname.lastname@example.org.