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Starting next week, many hospitals in Oregon will be taking a stand against early and elective Cesarean sections, MSNBC.com reports. C-sections have become commonplace, and federal statistics now show that surgical deliveries account for more than 30 percent of all U.S. deliveries.
However, Oregon officials are now working toward the goal of giving "babies more time for important development and to reduce costly complications after birth," MSNBC reports.
Seventeen Oregon hospitals (including all nine birthing hospitals in the Portland area) are implementing a "hard stop" on these elective procedures, says the March of Dimes' Oregon chapter, as quoted in the MSNBC report. According to a 2009 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, about 1 in 3 C-sections is performed before 39 weeks (37 to 41 weeks is considered full term).
"Thirty-nine to 40 weeks is the gold standard," says Michele Larsen, the March of Dimes' Oregon chapter spokeswoman, as quoted in the MSNBC report.
Researchers say that many women put their babies at needless risk of respiratory problems, hypoglycemia and other health problems when they deliver before 39 weeks. "So much more research is coming out showing how vital those last weeks are to development to a child's brain, liver and lungs. It makes a huge difference," Larsen says.
Plus, these deliveries have up to four times the risk of complications compared with C-sections done after 39 weeks.
C-sections can also pose risks for mom. Head over to our Why You Don't Want a C-Section page to read more about the pros vs. cons of surgical deliveries.
However, a C-section is just a must in some cases—after all, there's more than one way to give birth so check out our Labor & Delivery Special for your guide to childbirth choices. Even if you're not planning on having a C-section, we highly recommend that you read up on what to expect after a such a delivery. You never know what could happen and flexibility is the name of the game when it comes to labor and delivery.
If you're wondering what a C-section is like, watch a Fit Pregnancy editor's behind-the-scenes video of the delivery of her twins!
Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.