There is an alarmingly high rate of cesarean sections in the United States. Cesareans have become the most common operating room procedure of the day. A study released in the Journal of Health Affairs states that there were more than 800,000 cesarean deliveries in 593 hospitals in the year 2009 in Minnesota alone. In 2010, the cesarean birth rate had climbed even higher, to 32 percent nationwide. These statistics were given by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The frightening truth is that cesarean section is a major operation and one which is not required in many cases. 


Many first-time mothers have a limited awareness of the dangers involved in this method of birthing. There are possible long and short term harmful consequences for the mother. There are often unintended cuts, infection, blood clots, emergency hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), a challenging recovery, and unfortunately, often death. 

The costs of cesarean sections are also much higher than vaginal births. In New York State in 2010, the cost to have a cesarean section without complications was $14,583. If complications are involved, it escalates to over $20,000. Today the prices are even higher. 

Why are women having so many cesarean sections? This is a good question to ask. How can we stop these operations or at least slow them down? The solution is birthing centers. Midwife-led birthing centers provide safe and effective healthcare for women. A study was done which included 15,500 women who received care in 79 midwife-led birth centers in 33 US states from 2007 through 2010. They found that fewer than one in sixteen (6 percent) of the participants required a cesarean birth. This is compared to the nearly one in four (24 percent) similarly low-risk women cared for in a hospital setting. This birthing study proves the need for midwives and the effectiveness of the birthing centers. They can actually lower the cost of prenatal care and delivery in the healthcare system. If more women use these facilities, it can drastically lower healthcare costs. 

There are many organizations working together to inform the public of safer and more economical means of giving birth. The American Association of Birth Centers (AABC), American College of Nurse Mid-Midwives (ACNM), certified Nurse Midwives (CNW), Lay Midwives (not certified), licensed physicians, and obstetricians are all part of the ever-growing list of advocates and practitioners of natural childbirth procedures. ACNM President Dr. Holly Powell Kennedy, a professor of midwifery at Yale University School of Nursing said, “Midwives, who attended more than 335,000 births in 2010, worked collaboratively with a range of health care professionals, such as obstetricians and other physicians, to provide comprehensive care for women, resulting in safe, quality care. Their work as a team with pregnant women and their families ensures a personalized and nurturing birth center experience.” 

Birthing centers specialize in comfort of mother, child and family. They promote happiness and support the mother in her decision of natural birth. The interest of healthcare organizations, medical professionals and other healthcare providers are represented through various government bodies; however, the voice of the patient is rarely heard. More and more women are now choosing birthing centers because they are safe, economical, comfortable, reliable, and fill a much needed gap in the childbirth experience today. 

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