The rate of babies delivered by Caesarean section has been rising steadily since 1996, and a new study thinks it’s identified a reason why: Impatient doctors. According to the study, 44% of women who were trying for vaginal births between 2002 and 2008 had labor induced, which made them twice as likely to wind up having a Caesarean. Half of those Caesareans were performed before the woman’s cervix had dilated to the recommended six centimeters, “suggesting that clinical impatience may play a role,” the authors wrote.
And that’s not counting the many women who opted for a Caesarean before even trying to give birth the old-fashioned way—slightly more than half of Caesareans were performed before labor had even begun. Researchers were also surprised to discover that a third of first-time mothers were having Caesareans—matching the overall numbers. The trend disturbs doctors, the New York Times explains, because Caesareans carry additional risks, but they don’t expect it to stop anytime soon. (More Caesarean section stories.)