Dramatic jump in C-sections in Hawaii over decade - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Dramatic jump in C-sections in Hawaii over decade

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The state Department of Health recently released some dramatic statistics about childbirth. The rate of Cesarean sections in Hawaii has jumped exponentially in the last decade. We discovered a variety of reasons for the increase.

Anoilani Aga has two small, healthy children. 10 month old, Nanea, was born traditionally. Her older sister – via Cesarean.

"When I found out I had to have a C-section, I was kind of devastated. I really wanted to have a vaginal first birth," explains the 32 year old Aga.

Doctors said Aga's unborn baby was at risk of infection. "From the very beginning, you always know that, if something doesn't go as planned, you have to be flexible. So, I just had to figure out how to cope with it."

Whether for medical reasons or by choice, Cesarean sections, both here and nationally, have skyrocketed. We dug deeper and found that, from 2000 to 2010, the state DOH says C-sections in Hawaii jumped from 15% to 28%.

"Absolutely. I think that it's very surprising," says Dr. Angela Pratt about the data. She's assistant chairperson of the OBGYN department at Kapiolani Women and Children's Medical Center and delivers about two dozen babies a month.

Dr. Pratt lists three major reasons for the increase: more women are requesting C-sections without a medical reason. For instance, they want to deliver their babies on a certain date. Also, there's liability pressure, and mostly, because either mom or baby is at higher risk medically. "There's more multiple pregnancies. We have more invitro-fertilization. We're having women who wait later to have their babies," says Dr. Pratt. There could also be concern about the baby's health and well-being.

DOH data, county-by-county, shows Honolulu's C-sections increased 14% in a decade, followed by Maui at 13%, Kauai at 11%, and the Big Island at 9%. By race, Filipino women had a 14% jump in C-sections, women of Chinese ethnicity had a 13% hike, and Caucasian, Japanese, and Native Hawaiian mothers saw an 11% increase during that same time period between 2000 and 2010.

Dr. Pratt says each birth really has be tailored to the patient's needs and medical conditions. "Their own ideas of how many children they want to have in their family, what their particular risks are, what their cultural beliefs are," she adds.

Also, remember, a C-section is major abdominal surgery - so patients can potentially be at higher risk for complications.

Interestingly, in 1965, the national rate for C-sections was just 4%. In 2012, it's jumped to almost 33% - a third of all babies born in the U.S.

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