The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released the latest statistics on birth in the United States. There are a few things worth highlighting.
1. Women are having fewer babies.
The fertility rate in 2013 was 62.9 births per 1,000 women 15-44 years old — a record low.
2. Women are giving birth at older ages.
Teen motherhood is at a record low, and the birth rate for women in their twenties is also declining. Women are now likelier to give birth in their early thirties than in their early twenties. In 2012, the mean age of first-time mothers was 25.8.
3. C-sections are still alarmingly common.
While there was actually a small decline in 2013 of the rate of cesarean section, it is still 32.7% — a sharp rise from 4.5% in 1965 and ~20% in 1996. In France and Japan, where the infant mortality rates are lower than in the U.S., they perform C-sections at a rate of 19% and 17%, respectively.
While C-section rates can actually be too low in some countries — where the procedure may not be available even when it's medically necessary — high rates in high-income countries like the U.S. may indicate "that unjustified cesarean section in healthy pregnancies is taking place."
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