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U.S. Caesareans, Unmarried Mothers at Record Highs

Annual Summary of Vital Statistics issued by Pediatrics includes birth and death data through 2005

TUESDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The number of unmarried women and women over 30 giving birth, and the number of Caesarean deliveries, are at or near record highs, according to the Annual Summary of Vital Statistics: 2005, published in the February issue of Pediatrics.

In the report, Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Hyattsville, Md., and colleagues provide a summary of birth and mortality data through 2005.

The investigators found the general fertility rate in 2005 was 66.7 births per 1,000, the highest since 1993. While the birthrate for teen mothers dropped slightly, Caesarean deliveries (30.2 percent of all births) and childbearing by unmarried women were both found at record highs. In addition, the birth rates for women 30 years or older were at levels not seen in nearly 40 years. Pre-term births and low birth weight deliveries rose from previous years.

Although the crude death rate did not change for children aged 1 to 19 years from 2003, the researchers found that many childhood deaths continue to occur as a result of preventable injuries. Of the 10 leading causes of death, only pneumonia and influenza-related deaths decreased.

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