Do You Know Your Hospital’s C-Section Rate?

Worldwide, the USA ranks low in terms of outcomes for pregnancy and childbirth. Coming in ranked 46th, most other industrialized nations are doing far better than the USA at preventing complications that can lead to injury or death as a result of childbirth. There are numerous factors contributing to our ranking but one of the most often cited is the high rate of cesarean section (about 32%) in the USA, far above the World Health Organizations recommended 10-15% of all births. According to the Healthy People 2020 Initiative, the USA has a target to reduce C-sections to 23.9% nationwide by the year 2020.

Many women (at least 10-15%) need and will greatly benefit from a C-section, no matter which hospital they choose, but did you know that c-section rates can vary dramatically hospital to hospital? In my opinion, a hospital’s c-section rate should be as easy to access as all the other marketing materials they like to highlight. So, I have compiled data for everyone to share about our local hospitals. This information as well as hospitals not included below can be found here:

Hospital C-section Rate
Kaiser-Roseville 20.8%
Mercy-Folsom 21.6%
Mercy San Juan 23.5%
Sutter Roseville Declined to Respond**
Marshall Medical-Placerville 32.1%
UC Davis-Sacramento 22.2%

**Every Sutter Hospital in our area has declined to respond to this survey.

Knowing which hospitals in your area have a higher c-section rate can be critical in choosing a hospital and care provider for your pregnancy. This one statistic can impact your health and wellbeing exponentially more than if their birth suite is remodeled and has “fresh paint” or if they have a massage therapist on staff (I have recently heard ad campaigns mentioning these things specifically).  Ask your provider if there are midwives on staff (if you have a low-risk pregnancy) and what their c-section statistics are personally. Or better yet if you have a low-risk pregnancy, opt for an out of hospital birth at a free standing birth center (not affiliated with a hospital) or a home birth attended by licensed midwives.

There are only three birth centers for out-of-hospital births in the greater Sacramento area: Midtown Nurse Midwives, California Birth Center and The Birth Center. For an extensive list of midwives in our area and information on midwifery care, visit the Midwives Collective of Sacramento. I’ve also had great experience with One Heart Midwifery in Citrus Heights and Mackenzie Rose Midwifery, who is currently accepting new patients and is partnering with California Birth Center.