While the World Health Organization states that the ideal rate for necessary cesarian births should be around 10-15% (with more recent studies showing that rates above 10% do not decrease mortality rates for parents or for babies), the US Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (Department of Health and Human Services) sets our goal at 23.9%. Since this goal was set (as 10% lower than the average in 2007), approximately 60% of hospitals in the United States do not yet meet this goal.
Another doula and I were chatting about experiences at a local hospital where a client of mine awaited a planned cesarian for a suspected big baby. This doula mentioned that the birth site we were discussing was on the top of a list of local hospitals who perform medically unnecessary cesarian sections. She shared with me the consumer report on cesarian rates for low-risk babies. The report does not include cesarian statistics from anyone who has a prior cesarian, is carrying more than one baby, or who has a baby in anything but a head-down position. This data also doesn’t include anyone with a chronic health condition, heart problems, high blood pressure or obesity. Truly, this is a thorough compilation of comparative unnecessary cesarian rates, state-by-state.
Some takeaways about Boston-area birth sites:
The lowest cesarian section rates come from:
- Cambridge Health Alliance (which includes Cambridge Birth Center and Cambridge Hospital)
- Mount Auburn (don’t think any Boston-area birth worker is surprised about this)
- Massachusetts General Hospital
The worse-than-average cesarian section rates come from:
- Tufts Medical Center
- St. Elizabeth’s
- Newton-Wellesley Hospital
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital
- Boston Medical Center
The highest cesarian section rates come from:
- South Shore Hospital
- Brockton Hospital
- Melrose Wakefield Hospital (Hallmark Medical System)
Just something else to consider when choosing where to give birth around Boston!