previous entry :: next entry

Scary stuff: Massachusetts Cesarean Rates by Hospital

Are you thinking of giving birth in a Massachusetts hospital? The unnecesarean (bias clearly revealed in the blog title) summarizes the rate of this surgery in all major MA hospitals. The overall rate in our state is 33.7%. If you want to give birth at BIDMC, boston's most popular hospital where everyone says "the nurses are fantastic!" then you're 42% likely to deliver at knifepoint.

Choose a homebirth on the other hand, and you're 92% likely to come out of the process with your inside bits kept on the inside.

Obviously my outrage shows through. Distaste for cesarean was the number one reason I chose to give birth at home. Regardless of risk factors, women who start their pregnancies with the plan of delivering at home have an 8% chance of ending in cesarean. That means that merely by making the choice of different care provider, you decrease your risk of major abdominal surgery by 76%. Choose a hospital birth and you increase your risk by 321%.

That's not just selection bias. In 1996 the state-wide rate was 19.1%. Masachusetts women and babies haven't gotten phenomenally sicker since then. There's a systemic problem in the way doctors give birth. I'm sorry.... CURE birth.

Okay, I've said my piece. Tomorrow it's back to crafting photos. Stats and charts are here.


I read an article recently that the mortality rates for women giving birth are on an upward trend here in CA because of the high c-section rate. People often don't comprehend that it is major abdominal surgery. I'd rather give birth a thousand times than have someone slice open my belly, but I was one of those wierd ones who actually enjoyed giving birth.

I enjoyed giving birth a lot too! What a fun roller-coaster. One of the first questions I asked my midwife in my one-week follow-up was "How soon can I do this again?"

The recovery period hasn't been super fun, however. Looking forward to that being over someday ;)

I have to say, I'm a c-section mama (when your doctor looks at your blood pressure and weight and the color drains from his face, you do exactly what he tells you to do... I'm happy we are both alive and healthy). The initial recovery was unpleasant, I will never understand people who volunteer for full-on abdominal surgery (and I did have 1 1/2 days of labor first). There is an advantage in long-term recovery, but it's so not worth it if you don't need it. Fortunately, I'm a candidate for VBAC in the future, but I was pre-term preeclamptic, so I expect I'll be watched by my doc or midwife closely!

I totally agree with you Aurora. C-sections are sometimes absolutely medically necessary. Just a third as frequently as they're actually performed. That's when they qualify as unnecesareans...

I wonder what will happen in light of the NIH supporting VBAC. Doctors have been resistant to offer VBAC for a long time, but all the OBs I've spoken to recently (all three...) have been all for VBAC.

Of course, I'm not planning on another anytime soon. I want this one to be a little older first!

comments closed for this entry

previous entry :: next entry