Narrator: This is Science Today. Reducing the national rate of cesarean deliveries, or C-sections, is of great interest to those in the public health field. Sylvia Guendelman is a professor of maternal and child health at the University of California, Berkeley's School of Public Health.
Guendelman: Right now, we have approximately a caesarean rate of 30%. It's been steadily going up and it is often times not only costly from a medical standpoint and economical standpoint because it means usually double the cost of a vaginal delivery, it's twice as high. It implies more hospital days and therefore, more medical costs to the health care system. But it also, we're seeing, runs the risk of worse health for both women and infants. We know, for instance, that C-sections are associated with higher risk of infections for women.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.