Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers: Increase in Cesarean Deliveries

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A cesarean delivery can be a life-saving option for a pregnant woman and her baby, offering a medical alternative if a vaginal delivery becomes too risky. But the number of cesarean deliveries that are performed in the United States each year has been steadily rising, which begs the question: Are medical professionals too quick to perform cesareans and what factors are contributing to this trend?

The number of women who delivered via cesarean peaked in 2009 at 32.9%, following a steady increase since 1997. In 2014, 1.3 million women in the United States delivered via cesarean, which was only 0.7% less than in 2009. There was a drop in the cesarean rate from 1987 to 1997, as trials of labor after cesarean (TOLACs) were rare and there was an increase in attempts of more than 40% in women who had previous cesareans.

Factors Contributing to Increased Rate of Cesareans

There are a number of reasons why doctors perform cesareans, including the following:

  • Cephalo-pelvic disproportion, or a failure to progress in labor.
  • Increased birth weight, which evidence suggests has increased over the past 20 years.
  • Maternal obesity, which can contribute to gestational weight gain.
  • Cesarean delivery by maternal request (CDMR), which is when the mother requests an elective cesarean delivery. This is more common in other countries like Brazil, Taiwan, and Chile, while women in the United States tend to prefer a vaginal delivery.
  • Doctors who have been sued are more likely to perform a cesarean due to a potential medical malpractice lawsuit if a vaginal delivery goes wrong.

Pros and Cons of Cesarean Delivery

Like any surgical procedure, there are positive and negative factors associated with a cesarean delivery, both for the mother and the baby.


  • Lower risk of intrapartum hypoxic injury and neonatal mortality.
  • Baby is not at risk of shoulder dystocia that is associated with a vaginal delivery.
  • No perineal lacerations, pelvic organ prolapse, or incontinence that are common with vaginal deliveries.


  • Higher rates of maternal hemorrhage, infection, and death.
  • Can affect future pregnancies.
  • Abnormal placentation can result in preterm delivery and require a cesarean hysterectomy.
  • Infants born via cesarean can have higher rates of transient tachypnea and primary pulmonary hypertension.
  • Mothers who have had previous cesareans are more likely to deliver a stillborn.

It is important to discuss your options with your doctor, particularly if you have had a previous cesarean or have other risk factors like a failure to progress in labor, an abnormal fetal heart rate tracing, or suspected fetal macrosomia.

Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims Injured During a Cesarean Delivery

If you have been injured during a cesarean delivery, the experienced, compassionate Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are on your side and will fight for your right to a fair compensation. We will work hard on your behalf to ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable for their actions. For a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent clients throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.