HealthDay News – After two decades of steady increases, the number of U.S. infants born early due to induced labor has declined in recent years, according to a data brief from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Rates of induced labor declined since 2006 for patients at 35 to 38 weeks of gestation, with the greatest decline at 38 weeks, found researchers with the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The investigators used data from the Natality Data File from the National Vital Statistics System.
The rate of induced labor more than doubled between 1990 and 2010, from nearly 10% of births to just under 24%. Since 2010, the overall rate of induced labor has slightly declined, to 23.7% in 2011 and 23.3% in 2012.
The inspectors found that induction rates varied widely based on race, ethnicity and locale. Induction rates fell 19% for white mothers, but only 7% for Hispanics and 3% for African-American mothers.
Declines in labor induction occurred in nearly three out of four states, ranging from 5% in Maryland to 48% in Utah. Rates increased in Alaska, New York and North Carolina, and remained unchanged in 11 states.