The total cesarean section rate in the United States is 32.8%, which represents 60% increase since 1996.
A new study found that hospitals that employ full-time “laborists” have lower Cesarean deliveries.
The study of 6,206 first-time pregnant women discovered that where there were a full-time laborist available to help a woman go through the stages of labor, C-section deliveries occurred at a 27% lower rate compared to hospitals without one. The research is published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
“This first published study is important for women’s health, as it shows that having dedicated full-time laborists – hospital based obstetricians dedicated only to labor care – is associated with a large reduction in cesarean delivery rates,” said Dr.Brian Iriye, who conducted the study with colleagues at the High Risk Pregnancy Center, in conjunction with Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center “Our results may have important implications on care for delivering mothers and the future of laborist programs and obstetrics training within the United States.”
Given that C-sections are costly major surgery, with risks of complications like infection, bleeding and blood clots to lower extremities and the lungs, it’s better that less were performed.
The Healthy People target for 2020 is a rate of 23.9% for low-risk women with a singleton vertex (head-first) presentation and no prior cesarean births. The study suggests full-time laborists would help get to that number.