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QuickStats: Total and Primary Cesarean Rate and Vaginal Birth After Previous Cesarean (VBAC) Rate --- United States, 1989--2003



Preliminary data for 2003 indicated that 27.6% of all births in the United States resulted from cesarean deliveries, an increase of 6% from 2002 and the highest percentage ever reported in the United States. After declines during 1989--1996, the total cesarean rate and the primary cesarean rate (i.e., percentage of cesareans among women with no previous cesarean delivery; 19.1% in 2003) have increased each year. In addition, the rate of VBAC, which had increased during 1989--1996, decreased by 63% to 10.6% in 2003. Among women with previous cesarean deliveries, the likelihood that subsequent deliveries would be cesarean was approximately 90% in 2003.

SOURCE: National Vital Statistics System, annual files, 1989--2003. Available at

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