5 On Your Side

Consumer Reports: Number of C-sections remain high in US

Posted June 1, 2016

— Consumer Reports found that the number of C-sections remain high in the United States, even though many mothers prefer to avoid them.

A group analyzed data from hospitals all over the country, including North Carolina, and found the hospital a woman goes to can increase the likelihood of having a C-section.

Britney Archer said she felt pressured to have a C-section with her first child, then she heard something about her doctor.

“I found out that the hospital she was working at was known as ‘the C-section hospital,” Archer said.

C-sections can take longer to recover from, and once a woman has a C-section, it increases the chances future births will happen the same way.
Consumer Reports looked into why so many women with low-risk first pregnancies end up having C-sections.

“We analyzed hospital data from across the country and found the biggest risk of having a C-section comes down to the hospital a woman has her baby in,” said Doris Peter, of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center.

The target for C-sections from the Department of Health and Human Resources is under 24 percent for women with low-risk first pregnancies.

Consumer Reports found that rates vary, even among hospitals in the same area.

At 24 percent, North Carolina ranked just above the target rate. No large Hospitals in the state made the list of highest C-section rates for low-risk deliveries, but two made the lowest.

The rate at WakeMed Raleigh is 18 percent, and it's 16 percent at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington.

The highest rate in the country was at 68 percent, at a hospital in South Florida.

“Of course there are situations where having a C-section is the safest delivery option,” Peter said. “But for women anticipating a low-risk delivery, they should be encouraged to give birth without having surgery.”

For her second pregnancy, Britney said she hoped to avoid another C-section.

"Because of my first delivery and the way that I felt like it kind of was taken from me, I wanted control of this pregnancy, delivery – the whole thing,” Archer said.

In December, Archer’s son, Quincy, was born without a C-section.


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