Expectant mothers seem to be choosing to have Caesarean sections more often even when there's no clear medical need, according to a recent study.
Women getting elective C-sections are usually over 35, more affluent, and planning only one child, says internist Samantha Collier, M.D., of HealthGrades, a Denver-based company that studies healthcare quality.
HealthGrades culled insurance claims from 16 states, covering half the nation's deliveries, in estimating first-time, preplanned C-sections without a clear medical indication.
They accounted for 2.2% of deliveries in 2002, up 25% in three years, the study says.
The study estimates some 80,000 women had preplanned, elective C-sections in 2002, up from an estimate of just under 63,000 the year before.
In 2002, C-sections accounted for 26.1% of all births, a record high.