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A coalition of hospitals and health groups will work to reduce Maryland's high cesarean delivery rate, state health officials announced Tuesday.

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Maryland Hospital Association and Maryland Patient Safety Center and the Perinatal-Neonatal Quality Collaborative will develop strategies to bring the rates down.

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About 35 percent of the deliveries in the state are cesarean, compared to a third nationwide. Maryland had the ninth-highest cesarean delivery rate of any state in the nation in 2013.

The procedure is he most common surgery in the United States, leaving some to believe it is overused.

The coalition will look at how to encourage vaginal births after cesareans and educating patients about the health consequences of cesareans. The group  also will seek input from obstetric professionals and policymakers.

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