What is an acceptable (or good) c section rate for low-risk births? — The Bump
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What is an acceptable (or good) c section rate for low-risk births?

The hospital at which I am currently planning to deliver has a rate of 22%. That seems high, but I'm not really sure when the red flag should come up.

 I am still wrestling with whether to ditch my OB and go with a midwife at a different hospital (where they have a birthing center int he hospital) or stick it out with my very good but very traditional OB.

If it were up to me I would switch in a second but my husband really has a lot of confidence in the OB to manage potential problems. 

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Re: What is an acceptable (or good) c section rate for low-risk births?

  • Well that's the hospital, any idea about the practice itself?  Is it a hospital that handles high risk individuals too?  Although you mention that the other hospital has a birthing center within the hospital and that's something that I went with last time, so obviously I would prefer that vs. a traditional OB. 
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  • 22% is low for a hospital in the US, compared to many hospitals that have rates in the 30 or 40% range.  A hospital's overall c/s rate will probably include higher risk deliveries and scheduled c-sections.  Repeat c/s alone usually account for a significant amount of c-sections done.

    For just low-risk births, 22% is high.  Think about that--1 in 5 low-risk women can't deliver their babies safely without surgery?  If that were the case, I don't think the human species would have survived the tens of thousands of years before safe c-sections were developed.

    Like PP mentioned, the WHO recommends an rate of 10-15% for all births.  One nurse midwife practice I interviewed with had a 12% c/s rate, and that is pretty good.  Out of hospital providers, who by definition only work with low-risk mothers, often report even lower c/s rates.  The Farm, where Ina May Gaskin does deliveries, reports a c/s rate of 1.4%.

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  • Hmmm, the stat I found definitely says "Low Risk" c sections. I am not encouraged! I will ask my OB what his specific rate is, but I am getting nervous...

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  • If you're considering looking at other facilities, this is a great resource for a list of "baby-friendly" hospitals

    https://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/eng/03.html

     

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  • imageMissAmber23:

    If you're considering looking at other facilities, this is a great resource for a list of "baby-friendly" hospitals

    https://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/eng/03.html

    I was curious about the hospitals that would be listed as baby friendly for my area so I went to the link you posted. One of the hospitals that is listed for my area and is "baby friendly", I know for sure is not natural birth friendly. When I was researching hospitals for DD's birth this "baby friendly" hospital had a c-section rate in 2009 that was higher than 75%. Insane crazy high and they don't even have a high level NICU. So just because it's a baby friendly hospital doesn't mean it's natural childbirth friendly.

     

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  • My figures were wrong. The hospital has a 70% c-section rate in 2008. Still horribly high.

    https://www.theunnecesarean.com/blog/2010/4/9/california-cesarean-rates-by-hospital-2008.html

    Ivy: July 2010  |  Stella: Dec 2012  |  BFP#3: MMC at 11Wk's, July 2017 | Wyatt: April 2019 | BFP#5: Twin Girls due Sept 2020

  • I agree with Iris, a hospitals rates will include electives, and while 22% is high for "low risk" you have to also consider how many of those births were induced, had epidurals, or other interventions. Things are just done differently in hospitals. The closest one to us offers a c-section to anyone with a baby that's suspected to be over 8.5 lbs, and I think their rate is around 30%. The birth center we are going to though, has a transfer rate of 6%, and most of the transfers are for pain meds or non-progression, not sections. So I think the section rate is around 2-3%. I personally prefer the birth center/midwife route vs the highly medicalized one. It's much more comfortable for me and cheaper!  

  • imageMissAmber23:

    If you're considering looking at other facilities, this is a great resource for a list of "baby-friendly" hospitals

    https://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/eng/03.html

     

    Keep in mind that Baby Friendly focuses on breastfeeding, not birth practices.  My local hospital is a certified Baby Friendly hospital and it has a c/s rate of 38%. 

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  • Good points. I looked up the ones in our area, and the only one they listed IS known as the most natural birth friendly, so I didn't look much past it. But you're right, baby friendly is not the same as mother-friendly.
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  • I would ask your OB their specific stats rather than just going with the hospital stats. However in general, in the US 22% is actually a pretty good statistic, sadly.

    But for example, the hospital I am delivering at has just under a 50% c/s rate. 50%!!! This freaked me out completely until I talked to my midwife and found out that for her practice specifically, the c/s rate is under 20%, and that includes everybody even the elective repeat c/sers. Of the rest the midwives deliver 85% themselves and the docs only step in for high-risk patients.

    I like those stats. A lot. What should actually be scary though, is that if my practice only has a 20ish% c/s rate...which other practices are sectioning just about *all* of their patients to make up an average of 50%? THAT is scary.

    Raising a threenager since 11/11
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  • Mine has a 17% rate for low-risk which is on the lower end for our state [I think the lowest of regular hospitals was 8% that I saw listed but it went as high as 50%.]  22% would fall under the bottom half of hospitals here, closer to the bottom third because there are so many in the 28-35% c/s rate.

    Personally, I would check out a birth center if it was an option.  Perhaps your husband would be comforted if you did a tour of the facility and they were able to talk to him about what would happen if any complications arise? 

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  • Wow, a major hospital in my area has a 37% c/s rate.  There is one hospital in Ohio that has a 62% c/s rate!!
  • The rate at my hospital is 1 in 3, which I don't think is good at all.

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