With the number of unnecessary inductions of labor and unnecessary medical interventions in labor, the cesarean birth rate (especially in New Jersey) is skyrocketing. The national cesarean rate in 2013 was 32.7% and in New Jersey, it is approximately 40% and even higher in Northern New Jersey. While each hospital reports their cesarean rates, more importantly it is key to know the cesarean rate of your obstetrical provider.
The American College of Obstetricians has taken notice of this trend and has issued statements about the safety of VBACs (vaginal delivery after cesarean) births and then the importance of avoiding a primary cesarean in the first place.
While a hospital can have a reputation of having a high cesarean birth rate, it is significantly more important to understand the cesarean birth rate for your obstetrical provider. Also, certain patient populations can skew a cesarean rate. Click HERE to see cesarean rates by hospitals.
The World Health Organization (WHO), conducted several studies on what is the idea cesarean birth rate. While a 0% cesarean rate is unrealistic because cases such a placenta previa. vaso previa, a baby in the transverse position and other such conditions will arise. The WHO deemed the idea rate to be around 10 – 15%. Click HERE for link to their site and recommendations and how they came to such a rate.
The questions to ask your provider are 1) “What is your cesarean rate?” and 2) “What is your cesarean rate among first time mothers?” For the majority of women, the first vaginal delivery can be the most challenging and is when they have the highest risk for a cesarean delivery.
If your provider has a rate over 25%, this should be a red flag, and you should ask them what leads them to such a high rate. Working with a perinatologist, our practice sees placenta previas, triplet pregnancies, malpositioned babies, etc, and our combined rate is around 15%.
Another good question to ask your provider is: “What is your induction rate?” An unnecessary induction, or an induction of an unfavorable cervix can also lead to a cesarean delivery. While, I thank God that we have birth by cesarean, avoiding an unnecessary cesarean delivery is something that all women should be entitled to and have access to. Know your stats.
Cesarean Rates by Hospital in NJ: http://www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/professional/documents/cesarean_hospitals11_south_nj.pdf
WHO recommendations on C/S rates.
Author New Jersey Midwifery