Of the 10 most frequently performed in-patient procedures, 5 are related to maternity and newborn care (2010 figures - latest available).
Bad news: the cesarean section (surgical delivery) rate continues to rise; it is up 41% since 2004, despite global evidence that rates over 15% do more harm than good. This is a place to cut the cost of maternity care. A cesarean section costs on average $9956 more than vaginal delivery.
Good news: Fetal monitoring, circumcision and stripping of membranes are performed less frequently now than in 1997. The reduction in procedures returns to mothers some control over their most significant life event, and begins to recognize that over-management is not beneficial.
Procedure Frequency Number Performed Increase in
Rank in 2010 frequency
Repair of obstetric 1,292,000 No change
Cesarean section 1,278,000 41%
Circumcision 1,164,000 -31%
Artificial rupture of 917,000 -5%
Fetal monitoring 875,000 -23%