Instead of paying doctors piecemeal for prenatal appointments and delivery of the baby, some insurers now offer medical practices one lump sum to cover it all.
"The birthrate is a barometer of despair," demographer Dowell Myers says. Not since 1986 has the U.S. seen so few babies born.
A woman had twins in a hospital south of Boston last summer. For doctors aiming to reduce cesareans, the second baby's tricky arrival tested the limits of teamwork.
A report in The Lancet says the rate of cesarean sections has tripled globally since 1990. In some hospitals, more than 70 percent of births occur by C-section, putting moms and babies at risk.
Young women with simple pregnancies can safely ask a doctor to induce labor, a study finds. It doesn't increase their risk of needing a C-section after all and can even offer potential benefits.
Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange, will exclude hospitals from insurance networks if they don't reduce their numbers of C-sections, back scans and opioid prescriptions.
Doulas provide emotional support for a woman through pregnancy and childbirth. A study finds that women with doulas are less likely to have cesarean or preterm births.
Many obstetricians make more money for C-sections than for vaginal deliveries. In a recent study, these doctors were more likely to perform the costly procedure than doctors paid a flat salary. But when the pregnant women were also physicians, doctors seemed less swayed by financial incentives.