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Study: High-tech interventions deliver huge childbirth bill

USA Today, October 8, 2008

Childbirth is the leading reason for hospitalization in the United States and one of the top reasons for outpatient visits, yet much maternity care consists of high-tech procedures that lack scientific evidence of benefit for most women, according to a report. U.S. hospital charges for maternal and newborn care jumped from $79 billion in 2005 to $86 billion in 2006, and reducing expensive techniques such as C-sections, as well as increasing low-cost approaches such as childbirth assistants, would improve mothers' and babies' health while cutting costs, the authors say.