New Jersey is among the states with the highest C-section rates in the nation.  Why the high rates?

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"There are a few reasons for the high rates of C-section births in New Jersey," said Dr. Ronald Librizzi, chief of maternal fetal medicine at Virtua Health. "In my practice, women who have C-section deliveries are only those who have had high-risk pregnancies or those who have an issue where they are at risk for some reason."

Librizzi said the onset of more technologies has brought a constant and continuous increase in the C-section rate because people want to avoid the risk of vaginal births.

For example, more women over the age of 35 are getting amniocentesis to rule out potential genetic disorders. "We have women who are a very low risk and they'll have an invasive procedure to avoid that risk," said Dr. Librizzi. "So, I feel it's important to educate our patients and give them information to help walk them through what will be the best decisions for them. People and doctors have become more risk averse as time has gone on."

There is also an increasing number of older and heavier expectant mothers and more pregnant women with gestational diabetes which often result in C-section deliveries.

"If there is the slightest risk that can result in damage to a mother or a baby, I won't take that risk," said Dr. Librizzi. "The fact of the matter is, I'm looking at good baby rate and not cesarean section rate. I am very much against delivering a baby via C-section for convenience or just to coordinate schedules. I am a very big believer in getting babies to 39 weeks. Unless there is some compelling reason to deliver a baby before 39 weeks, there should not be an elective induction before that time."

However, the number is beginning to come down as more hospitals implement policies against non-medically necessary cesarean sections and labor induction before 39 weeks in a pregnancy.

"The bottom line is this, is it the rate we're looking for, or good babies we're looking for?" said Dr. Librizzi. "Medicine is not a science. It's very much an art and we need to be able to work with our patients to make sure they have a fulfilling experience that gives the best outcome for the mother and the baby."







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