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Why doctors plan on cutting number of C-section births

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If you are a woman who has given birth via C-section, then you are definitely not alone.

According to an American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) news release, about one-third of American women gave birth by C-section in 2011, a 60 percent rise since 1996.

This number has doctors concerned, and now they are planning to do something about it.

Since women having their first child account for about 60 percent of all cesarean deliveries in the United States, new guidelines issued Wednesday are aimed at curbing the overuse of cesarean sections in first-time mothers.

The recommendations will be published in the March issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Under the new guidelines, active labor should be considered to begin at a cervical dilation of 6 centimeters, rather than the previous 4 centimeters.

Women should be allowed to push for at least two hours if they've given birth before, three hours if they are first-time mothers, and even longer in certain cases, such as when an epidural is used for pain relief.

The guidelines also include advising to avoid excessive weight gain during pregnancy.

"Most women who have had a cesarean with their first baby end up having repeat cesarean deliveries for subsequent babies, and this is what we're trying to avoid. By preventing the first cesarean delivery, we should be able to reduce the nation's overall cesarean delivery rate," said Dr. Aaron Caughey, a member of ACOG's committee on obstetric practice who helped develop the new recommendations.