The World Health Organization recommends that pregnant women ready to deliver their babies undergo cesarean sections in only a small minority of cases. In fact, WHO cites a figure of 15 percent or less as being optimal.

If that number represents the gold standard, the relevant figure for C-section deliveries in New Jersey stands starkly as a polar opposite, immediately concerning for its ready evidence of the extreme commonality of cesarean section deliveries in the state as compared with vaginal deliveries.

Some New Jersey hospitals have a C-section rate as high as 40 percent for delivering mothers. The reasons cited for such dissonance from a stated norm are several. Some doctors admit to a fear of dire delivery outcomes as a catalyst for quick recommendations for cesarean deliveries. Pressure from medical insurers has been cited. Concern with birth injuries is referenced, including uterine rupture, shoulder dystocia and other complications.

A number of commentators on C-sections and the state’s high rate in convincing patients to undergo them openly admit that the high number of cesarean sections is problematic. One calls it a “hot-button issue.”

It is pointed out by health experts seeking to drive down the numbers that a C-section delivery is not necessarily safer than a natural delivery. It is, after all, major stomach surgery, and it comes with a recovery time that is longer than for vaginal deliveries. Moreover, it costs more.

“We need to reduce interventions that are being done,” says one childbirth educator who concedes the necessity of C-sections in some instances.

“[W]e need to look at why we’re doing the interventions in the first place,” she adds.

Source: Cherry Hill Courier Post, “New Jersey has high rates of C-sections,” Kim Mulford, Aug. 10, 2013