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What states have the highest cesarean section rates for 2010?

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Updated November 18, 2011

Cesarean birth

The cesarean section is the most common surgery in the United States.

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Question: What states have the highest cesarean section rates for 2010?
The cesarean section, or c-section, is the most common surgery in the United States. After rising for more than a decade, the 2010 data shows us a tiny, statistically insignificant, drop to an overall cesarean birth rate of 32.8% of all the over 4 million births.

The range of the cesarean rates is the high of 39.7 (Louisiana) to the low of 22.6 (Alaska). The top ten states are listed in bold below.

Answer: The following is a list of the states cesarean section rates in highest to lowest order from the preliminary National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data for 2010.

1. Louisiana 39.7
2. New Jersey 38.7
3. Florida 37.8
4. Mississippi 37.2
5. West Virginia 36.3
6. Alabama 35.5
7. Connecticut 35.4 (tie)
7. Kentucky 35.4 (tie)
8. Arkansas 35.1 (tie)
8. Texas 35.1 (tie)
9. South Carolina 35
10. Nevada 34.8

11. Oklahoma 34.7
12. New York 34.6
13. Maryland 34.5 (tie)
13. Virginia 34.5 (tie)
14. Tennessee 34.2
15. Georgia 34
16. Delaware 33.8
17. Massachusetts 33.1
18. California 33
19. DC 33
20. Michigan 32.6
21. Missouri 31.9
22. Pennsylvania 31.8
23. Illinois 31.2
24. Nebraska 31.1 (tie)
24. Rhode Island 31.1 (tie)
25. North Carolina 31
26. Ohio 30.8
27. Kansas 30.5
28. New Hampshire 30.4
29. Indiana 30.3 (tie)
29. Iowa 30.3 (tie)
29. Montana 30.3 (tie)
30. Maine 29.9
31. Washington 29.5
32. Oregon 29.4
33. Wyoming 27.9
34. North Dakota 27.7
35. Vermont 27.5
36. Hawaii 27.4
37. Minnesota 27.3
38. Arizona 27.2
39. South Dakota 26.6
40. Wisconsin 26
41. Colorado 25.9
42. Idaho 24.8
43. Utah 23.1
44. New Mexico 22.8
45. Alaska 22.6

Looking at the cesarean birth rates at the state level is not exactly helpful for an individual. If you are looking at this and panicked because your state has a high level of cesarean births, then what you need to do is to consider how to best avoid an unnecessary cesarean. This means choosing a practitioner that has a reasonable rate, which would be a cesarean rate lower than the national average in most cases. Talk to your practitioner about what factors are in your control when it comes to the cesarean birth rates and what factors they control. Discussing the options and having the conversation is very important to birth at an individual level.

It's also a wise idea to think long and hard about where you want to give birth. Most women have multiple choices. Ask the hard questions about various hospitals, and birth centers and home birth, if that option is available to you. The culture of your place of birth will impact the cesarean rate.

There is a lot yet to learn about cesarean section and what you can do to help avoid one for yourself. This includes talking about having a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) for your next baby. (This is the appropriate for the vast majority of women and their babies.)

Related:

Source:

Hamilton BE, Martin JA, Ventura SJ. Births: Preliminary data for 2010. National vital statistics reports web release; vol 60 no 2. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2011.

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