Research Studies

Examining Cesarean Delivery Rates by Race

Acute Care
Research Studies

A Population-Based Analysis Using the Robson Ten-Group Classification System


Valdes, E. G. (2020). Examining cesarean delivery rates by race: A population-based analysis using the Robson Ten Group Classification System. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, Doi: 10.1007/s40615-020-00842-3.

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For more information, you can find the full study in the journal Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

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Elise Valdes PhD, MS

Director of Research, Relias


Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, August 2020


The Robson Ten-Group Classification System is widely considered to be the gold standard for comparing cesarean section (CS) delivery rates, despite limited adoption in the United States (US). When reporting overall CS rates, Blacks and other minorities are typically reported to have high CS rates but comparing overall CS rates may be misleading as CS may be more common in some higher risk populations. Improved understanding of how CS rates differ by race among standardized groups could highlight differences in care and areas for improvement. The current study examines racial differences in cesarean section delivery rates using the Robson Ten-Group Classification System in a nationwide sample. Data from US vital statistics live birth certificates were used to identify 3,906,088 births which were each classified into one of the ten groups based on five obstetric characteristics identifiable on presentation for delivery including parity, onset of labor, gestational age, fetal presentation, and number of fetuses. Results indicated that Black and Asian mothers had the highest CS rates in groups 1–4 which all contain single, cephalic pregnancies at term with no prior CS and are only differentiated by parity and onset of labor. Black mothers also had the lowest CS rates for groups 6 and 7, containing women with nulliparous and multiparous breech births. Black and Asian mothers show differences in CS rates among groups that could indicate lack of appropriate care. Efforts should be made to prevent unnecessary primary CS among low-risk mothers.