Andrea M. Tilstra Doctoral Candidate, Department of Sociology Population Program, Institute of Behavioral Science University of Colorado Boulder

More Cesarean Deliveries Linked to Decline in US Birth Weights

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andrea M. Tilstra Doctoral Candidate, Department of Sociology Population Program, Institute of Behavioral Science University of Colorado Boulder

Andrea Tilstra

Andrea M. Tilstra
Doctoral Candidate, Department of Sociology
Population Program, Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado Boulder

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Average U.S. birth weight declined across the 1990s and 2000s, and this has puzzled most researchers. We investigate this and find that the increases in cesarean deliveries and induction of labor between 1990 and 2013 resulted in a shift in the gestational age distribution of U.S. births.

We find that births are less likely to occur at gestational weeks 40+ and much more likely to occur between weeks 37-39. Additionally, results from our simulations show that if U.S. rates of cesarean deliveries and labor induction had not increased over time, then average birth weight would have increased.  

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Recent declines in U.S. birth weight were very likely due to increases in induced labor and cesarean delivery at select gestational ages (37-39 weeks).  

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Our study highlights the consequences of high rates of induced labor and cesarean deliveries in the U.S. In order to decrease these high rates, future research ought to explore the institutional and social mechanisms that underlie them.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Response: Thanks much for your interest in this topic. There are no conflicts of interest. We would like thank the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)-funded University of Colorado Population Center (Award Number P2C HD066613) for development, administrative, and computing support and the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems and the National Vital Statistics Systems for providing data access. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NICHD, the National Institutes of Health, NAPHSIS, or the NVSS.

Citation:

Tilstra, A.M., Masters, R.K. Worth the Weight? Recent Trends in Obstetric Practices, Gestational Age, and Birth Weight in the United States. Demography (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13524-019-00843-w

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Last Modified : Feb 4, 2020 @ 12:03 am

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