Photograph by Maria Thibodeau

A report in the October 2018 issue of the Lancet says that the worldwide rate of cesarean section delivery has more than tripled since 1990, from about 6% of all births to 21%. In many countries (notably Brazil, China, and the USA) this rise is partially attributed to an increase in “elected” cesareans, women who choose to have a C-section despite having no medical need for the surgery.

According the the CDC's 2017 statistics the United states has a cesarean section rate of 32%, which is the highest it's ever been and is significantly higher than most other developed countries (Netherlands 17.4%, France 20.2%, England 27%)

The USA maternal mortality rate (deaths of mothers during pregnancy or during or after birth) is also climbing. According to a 2016 report in the NCBI's Medline database the maternal mortality rate in the USA increased by 26.6% between 2003 to 2014 (from 18.8 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births it rose to 23.8 deaths per 100,000 deaths). This statistic is in stark contrast to the general trend of most developed nations towards decreasing their maternal death rates. The primary cause of maternal death is a hemorrhage during or after the birth.  The high U.S. rate can be largely blamed on poverty, untreated chronic health conditions and the increasing inaccessibility of health care, especially in underserved rural areas.