SACRAMENTO — Births by Caesarean section continued to increase in California in 1984 even though they are more dangerous and more costly, the state Health Services Department said.
A study of hospital data showed that 22.6 women per 100 who had babies had Caesarean sections in 1984, compared to 22.2 per 100 in 1983 and only 6.9 per 100 in 1970, according to Health Services Director Kenneth Kizer.
The rates were higher for reimbursed births. The rate was 26.8% for women with private insurance, followed by 21.2% for those with Medi-Cal, 20.3% for those with prepaid health plans or health maintenance organizations and 17.2% for women who did not have insurance.
The increase has followed a national trend that saw Caesarean births increase from 4.5% in 1965 to 21.1% in 1984.
Kizer said the study showed that a Caesarean section without complications cost an average of $2,941, one with complications cost $4,242 and a vaginal delivery cost $1,271. The average hospital stays were 4.4 days for Caesarean without complications, 5.9 days with complications and 2.1 days for vaginal deliveries.
Kizer said Caesarean section deliveries have an increased risk of injury or death to the mothers.