Is the Global Rise in Elective C-Sections Tied to Social Class?

Filed under: In The News, Delivery

elective c-section

There's no denying, elective C-sections are gaining in popularity. Credit: Getty Images

You totally planned getting pregnant. You mapped out the nursery months in advance. You've already lined up interviews with preschools. So, why shouldn't you get that baby's delivery scheduled on the books, too?

There's no denying, elective C-sections are gaining in popularity -- especially among affluent women "Today" reports. In fact, the procedure is the most common major surgery in the United States, according to the news show, and about one-third of American babies are delivered via C-section.

The World Health Organization, however, finds that number concerning, saying just 5 to 15 percent of deliveries should require the surgery. So, "Today" reports, researchers looked at the social classes of moms of babies born via C-section in Scotland over 20 years, and found that while elective C-sections were provided for mostly lower-class women in the early '80s, in the early 2000s, it was upper-class moms who opted to schedule their deliveries.

Not all experts say it's a bad thing, though.

"It might be that women who are from more affluent areas might also have more education and they're asking their doctors more pointed questions that make an elective C-section the right thing for a particular patient," Dr. Shari Lawson, an obstetrician with Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital, tells "Today."

The news show adds women giving birth at an older age, obesity and high blood pressure may factor into the decision to have an elective C-section.

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