For low-risk deliveries, Consumer Reports found that C-section rates ranged from less than five percent to more than 50 percent.
Low-risk deliveries are defined as: women who haven’t had a C-section before, don’t deliver prematurely, and are pregnant with a single baby who is properly positioned.
There are situations when a C-section is the safest option. But the vast majority of women who anticipate a low-risk delivery should expect to have a natural birth. Unnecessary C-sections drive up medical costs and increase risks for mothers and babies.
Consumer Reports says ask the person who will deliver your baby about the hospital’s C-section rates. In general the lower the rate the better. Definitely look for rates lower than the national average, which for low-risk deliveries is close to 18 percent.
You can find Consumer Reports’ advice for avoiding unnecessary C-sections here.