In 2011, cesarean delivery was the most common inpatient surgery in the U.S., making up 32.8 percent of all deliveries and more than 1.3 million births. But while cesarean delivery is common, cesarean rates vary 10-fold across hospitals in the U.S. The reasons for the variability are not well understood.
In a new study published today in PLOS Medicine, Katy Kozhimannil, Ph.D., lead author and assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota and her colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health, analyzed data from 2009-2010. They looked at more than 1.4 million births in more than 1,300 hospitals, across 46 states, and adjusted rates for maternal diagnoses, socio-demographics and hospital characteristics including size, location and teaching status.