Pregnant With Implications

Cesarean sections declined in the seven years following 1989, when U.S. birth certificates first recorded methods of delivery. But recently they have spiked. Proposed explanations include an increase in multiple births and in the number of women more likely to have a C-section, such as those who are older, overweight or diabetic.—Brie Finegold

Percent of births delivered by cesarean section in:

2004: 29.1

1996: 20.7

1989: 22.8

Percent increase in twin births, 1990 to 2003: 37.1

Fraction of women in 2003 who gained prepregnancy weight beyond recommended guidelines:

Percent increase in mothers with diabetes, 1990 to 2003: 40

Percent change in birth rate from 1990 to 2003 for women ages:

20 to 24: −12

35 to 39: 38

40 to 44: 58

SOURCES: Division of Vital Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Institute of Medicine (weight guidelines)