A new Consumer Reports investigation of more than 1,200 hospitals across the country found that C-section rates for low-risk deliveries among U.S. hospitals vary dramatically, even in the same communities and among similar institutions, and that in most hospitals the rates are above national targets. Consumer Reports’ analysis focuses on first-time mothers-to-be who should be at low risk of needing a cesarean: pregnant women expecting just one child (not twins, triplets, or other multiples) whose babies are delivering at full-term in the proper position, which means coming out head first. Experts say the ideal C-section rate for those births is under 24 percent for low-risk births. Yet nearly six in 10 of the hospitals looked at in the report had C-section rates above the national target for low-risk births. That means that 40 percent of hospitals already achieved this goal. The risk of having a C-section also varied depending on where in the country women lived. In general, rates were higher in the Northeast and South, and lower in the West and Midwest.
Consumer Reports Finds Rate of Cesarean Sections Vary by Hospital, State
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