OB-GYN groups issue new guidelines on C-sections

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(STLMoms) - About one in three women give birth by Cesarean section. That's an increase of 60 percent since 1996, but why?  And what are the risks to mom and baby?

Dr. Rosanna Gray-Swain, an OB-GYN with Barnes Jewish Hospital talks about some new research and guidelines on C-sections.

One major change: Extending the length of time a woman should be allowed to be in labor, to help lower the odds she will require a C-section.

Among the other guidelines:

  • Active labor should be considered to begin at a cervical dilation of 6 centimeters, rather than the previous 4 centimeters.
  • Women should be allowed to push for at least two hours if they've given birth before, three hours if they are first-time mothers, and even longer in certain cases, such as when an epidural is used for pain relief.
  • Vaginal delivery is the preferred option whenever possible and doctors should use techniques -- forceps, for example -- to assist with natural birth.
  • Women should be advised to avoid excessive weight gain during pregnancy.

The recommendations will be published in the March issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Read more about new guidelines