The latest vital statistics, which are for the year 2007, were recently released and they reveal some interesting findings. There was a 2 percent increase from the previous year in the percentage of babies born by Caesarean delivery. Overall, 32 percent of all babies were delivered by C-section. This is certainly a growing trend.
The latest vital statistics, which are for the year 2007, were recently released and they reveal some interesting findings.
For example, 40 percent of the babies born that year were born to unmarried mothers. This percentage continues to increase. Since 2002 this increased by 22 percent.
During 2007, the total number of births in this country increased. They not only increased, but this was the highest number of births ever recorded - 4,417,119 newborn babies.
There was a 2 percent increase from the previous year in the percentage of babies born by Caesarean delivery. Overall, 32 percent of all babies were delivered by C-section.
This is certainly a growing trend.
In the 1960s, only 4.5 percent of deliveries were by C-section. That number steadily increased, resulting in renewed efforts by the medical profession to decrease the number of Caesarean deliveries.
These efforts were successful and the numbers declined. However, in recent years the percentage again has increased.
Why the increase?
More pregnant women today are obese, increasing the need for a Caesarean delivery. The number of twins and triplets born in the last 25 years has increased and such multiple births frequently require Caesarean deliveries.
Today, many babies who are in a breech position, especially if they can't be turned around, are delivered by C-sections.
Also, because of the increase in the number of malpractice claims, many obstetricians are reluctant to take the risk of a vaginal delivery if there is a possibility that the baby may be injured with that type of delivery.
But back to other vital statistics.
After the baby is born, what is his or her life expectancy? Life expectancy is at a record high of 77.9 years.
The leading cause of infant deaths were birth defects, chromosomal or genetic abnormalities and prematurity.
In children and adolescents, it is interesting that the top two causes of death were not medical diseases. The leading causes were injuries followed by homicides, many of which are preventable.
Did you ever wonder how many people die each year in the United States? In 2007, it was 2,423,995. But almost twice as many babies were born to replace the dear departed.
Aren't statistics great?
Massachusetts-based Dr. Murray Feingold is the physician in chief of the National Birth Defects Center, medical editor of WBZ-TV and WBZ radio, and president of the Genesis Fund. The Genesis Fund is a nonprofit organization that funds the care of children born with birth defects, mental retardation and genetic diseases.