Contemporary cesarean delivery practice in the United States

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Oct;203(4):326.e1-326.e10. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2010.06.058. Epub 2010 Aug 12.


Objective: To describe contemporary cesarean delivery practice in the United States.

Study design: Consortium on Safe Labor collected detailed labor and delivery information from 228,668 electronic medical records from 19 hospitals across the United States, 2002-2008.

Results: The overall cesarean delivery rate was 30.5%. The 31.2% of nulliparous women were delivered by cesarean section. Prelabor repeat cesarean delivery due to a previous uterine scar contributed 30.9% of all cesarean sections. The 28.8% of women with a uterine scar had a trial of labor and the success rate was 57.1%. The 43.8% women attempting vaginal delivery had induction. Half of cesarean for dystocia in induced labor were performed before 6 cm of cervical dilation.

Conclusion: To decrease cesarean delivery rate in the United States, reducing primary cesarean delivery is the key. Increasing vaginal birth after previous cesarean rate is urgently needed. Cesarean section for dystocia should be avoided before the active phase is established, particularly in nulliparous women and in induced labor.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cesarean Section, Repeat / statistics & numerical data
  • Cicatrix / epidemiology
  • Databases, Factual
  • Dystocia / epidemiology
  • Dystocia / surgery
  • Female
  • Fetal Distress / epidemiology
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Labor Presentation
  • Labor Stage, First
  • Labor, Induced / statistics & numerical data
  • Maternal Age
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Multiple
  • Trial of Labor
  • United States / epidemiology