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Center for Health Literacy Promotion Blog

With few exception, childbirth is normal % healthy, but...

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%
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