Given the increasing rates of labor induction and cesarean delivery, and efforts to reduce early term births, we examined recent trends in methods and timing of delivery.
We identified delivery methods and medical indications for delivery from administrative hospital discharge data for 231 691 deliveries in 2006 and 213 710 deliveries in 2010 from 47 specialty care member hospitals of the National Perinatal Information Center/Quality Analytic Services. In a subset of 17 hospitals, we examined trends by gestational age.
From 2006 to 2010, there was an 11% increase in labor induction and a 6% increase in cesarean delivery, largely due to repeat cesareans. There was a 4 per 100 reduction in early term births (37 to 38 weeks), mostly due to a decline in non-medically indicated interventional deliveries.
We report a shift in deliveries at 38 weeks, which we believe may be attributed to efforts to actively limit non-medically indicated early term deliveries.