Nearly six out of 10 hospitals’ cesarean rates for low-risk deliveries in first-time mothers are above the 23.9 percent or lower national benchmark set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
That’s according to a recently released Consumer Reports study of more than 1,300 hospitals.
Year-to-date, Via Christi Hospital St. Joseph’s rate is below 21 percent — besting the national benchmark and the 27 percent national average for low-risk deliveries.
“Bucking the national trend to improve the quality and safety of care for delivering mothers and their babies doesn’t just happen,” says Ruth Hommertzheim, clinical nurse specialist for Women’s and Children’s Services at Via Christi Hospitals in Wichita. “It requires commitment, education and a team effort by physicians and nursing staff.”
Contributing factors to Via Christi’s better-than-average rate in reducing the percentage of C-sections among low-risk deliveries by first-time mothers include:
- Not allowing early elective or “social” deliveries, which carry increased risk for complications and need to deliver via C-section.
- Using labor and “peanut” balls to help laboring mothers progress naturally whenever possible.
- Providing labor education to expectant mothers as well as to the nursing staff who will be providing their care.
“We’re making every effort to ensure safe and successful vaginal deliveries for all first-time mothers who don’t have medical complications that would preclude that from happening,” says Hommertzheim.