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Birthweight is Declining — Are C-Sections to Blame?

To conduct the study, the researchers examined more than 23 million birth records, reported from 1990 to 2013, to the National Vital Statistics System. They looked at birthweight, as well as method of delivery and number of weeks into pregnancy at delivery. Senior study author, Ryan Masters, explained, “Our data indicate that there has been a dramatic shift in birth timing in this country. It is resulting in birthweight decline, and it is almost entirely due to changes in obstetric practices.” Using the data they had, the researchers attempted to predict what may have have changed if induction and cesarean rates had not increased between 1990 and 2013. Lead study author, Andrea Tilstra, explained, “We found that the decline in birthweight would not have happened if it were not for the rapid increase in these obstetric interventions. In fact, birthweights would have gone up.” The study showed that the average length of pregnancy dropped from 40 to 39 weeks, from 1990 to 2013, and cesarean rates increased from 25% in 1990 to 31.2% in 2013. Labor inductions also increased over the 23-year timespan, more than doubling, from 12% in 1990 to 29% in 2013.  Read more....

 

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