Caesarean section rates have increased dramatically around the globe in recent years and they have proven controversial. Many are conducted when not medically required with the procedure carrying a certain level of risk. The increasing c-section rate is primarily due to a higher of number of births among older women, multiple births through assisted reproduction, technological advances, and due to personal preference. Among OECD nations, Turkey has the highest c-section rate at 50.4 per 100 live births.
Statistics and facts about pregnancy
A pregnancy is defined as the time between conception and birth and usually lasts 40 weeks. Nationwide pregnancy numbers and rates are difficult to survey because they also include abortions and miscarriages as pregnancy outcomes. In the United States, latest figures report some 6.4 million pregnancies for 2009. Of this number, 4.1 million had a live birth as outcome. On the other hand, almost 1.2 million induced abortions and 1.1 million miscarriages at all gestational periods were reported.
Around 27 percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. were reported for women between 25 and 29 years old, making it the most reproductive age group. With some 25 percent of all pregnancies, women aged between 20 and 24 years had the second-most pregnancies. Since 1990, the pregnancy rate among married U.S. women remained constantly higher than among unmarried women. On the other hand, abortion rates are much higher among unmarried pregnant women. According to the Guttmacher Institute, more than half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended.
In industrialized countries, teenage pregnancies are often put in a special focus. This is because of possible socioeconomic, educational, but also medical consequences. Moreover, around 80 percent of all teenage pregnanciesare unintended. In the United States, the pregnancy rate among 15-19 year-olds was drastically decreasing almost by half in the two decades since 1990. New Mexico was the U.S. state with the highest pregnancy rate among female teenagers, while California reported the highest total number of teen pregnancies.
This chart shows the caesarean rate per 100 live births in selected OECD countries.
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