Monthly Vital Statistics Reports

Rates of Cesarean Birth and Vaginal Birth After Previous Cesarean, 1991-95

The cesarean rate in the U.S. dropped 8 percent, from 22.6 in 1991 to 20.8 in 1995 according to a new report titled “Rates of Cesarean Birth and Vaginal Birth After Previous Cesarean, 1991-95.” This report presents trends in cesarean rates (total and primary) and vaginal birth after previous cesarean (VBAC) rates from birth certificate data. Trends in rates by age of mother for non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic subgroups are presented. For each subgroup, cesarean and VBAC rates for 1995 are presented by selected demographic and lifestyle characteristics of the mother and by medical risk factors and complications of labor and/or delivery. Cesarean and VBAC rates were computed based on the information from birth certificates in which the “method of delivery” item was completed.

Data Highlights:

  • The primary cesarean rate dropped 8 percent from 1991-95 to 14.7 per 100 births in 1995 for women with no previous cesarean.
  • The VBAC rate increased by 29 percent, from 21.3 in 1991 to 27.5 per 100 births with a previous cesarean in 1995.
  • The cesarean rate for Hispanic women declined between 1991 and 1995, while the rate for non-Hispanic black women remained steady.
  • Cesarean rates increased with maternal age for all groups, while VBAC rates declined with increasing maternal age.

Keywords: cesarean rates, VBAC rates, birth certificate