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C-Sections: Born This Way

The popularity of C-sections is on the rise.

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Paolo Gaetano Rocco/Getty Images

0 Number of cesarean (or “C”) sections likely undergone by Julius Caesar’s mother, who survived his birth to see his triumphs at a time when the procedure was performed only on the dead or dying (the word may actually come from the Latin caedere, “to cut”)

15 “Optimal” maximum C-section percentage rate set by the World Health Organization in 1985; the WHO has since modified the recommendation, stating in 2009 that “the optimum rate is unknown” but that “both very low and very high rates of cesarean section can be dangerous”

32.8 Percentage of U.S. births by C-section in 2010; common medical reasons include breech positioning, previous C-section, stalled labor and the placenta blocking the cervix

60 Percentage increase in U.S. C-section deliveries from 1996 to 2009

46 Percentage of births that occur by C-section in China, one-quarter of which have no medical basis

20 Percentage of C-sections necessitated by failed attempts to induce labor in first-time mothers, according to one study

$13,400 Average amount charged by Massachusetts hospitals for a C-section, compared with $9,700 for an uncomplicated vaginal delivery

$50 million Estimated amount saved annually in Utah after the Intermountain Healthcare hospital system banned labor inductions that had no medical reason; the savings were attributed to a drop in resulting C-section rates

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