How do you decide where to have your baby?

The type of care you receive in hospital can vary widely based not only on location of the hospital, but within a city between different hospitals dependent on their practices. A recent Consumer Reports article suggested that the biggest c-section rate was in fact the place you choose to give birth.

So where do we stand?

Tucson Medical Center scored higher than most other hospitals in the nation on a number of maternal health metrics measured by the Leapfrog Group* in three key areas:

  1. More than 60 percent of hospitals report a rate of C-sections that’s higher than the target rate. In addition to the concerns about impacts on the baby, C-sections carry risk of infection and blood clots, and many women experience longer recoveries. The target rate of 23.9 percent was based on goals of Healthy People 2020, a federal program that sets evidence-based benchmarks for improving the health of Americans. TMC’s C-section rate is significantly better than the target rate, at 16.9 percent.
  2. Although nearly 80 percent of hospitals don’t have adequate experience with high-risk deliveries, TMC meets the standard set by Leapfrog. Babies weighing less than 3 pounds, 4 ounces are more likely to survive, according to Leapfrog, if a hospital has an experienced newborn intensive care unit onsite.  TMC has professionals available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, who specialize in high-risk pregnancy and deliveries and has a nationally renowned Newborn Intensive Care Unit.
  3. TMC is among hospitals that continue to make progress on reducing the rate of early elective deliveries. Hospitals should aim for a target of 5 percent or fewer for C-section or induction prior to 39 weeks, without medical necessity. TMC fully meets the standard, with a rate of 3.1 percent.

We asked Debra Derck, Manager Labor and Delivery at TMC for Women what factors play a role in our low primary caesarean section rates.

Why our c-section rates are low

1.  24-hour Perinatology

We have 24 hour perinatology available for any concerns and therefore are able to wait and potentially resolve a situation before having to resort to a C-Section.

2.  Partnerships with Midwife Practices

We have 2 midwife practices that deliver patients at our hospital and promote position changes and laboring down during second stage of labor.

3.  Elective Inductions ONLY after 39 weeks

Elective inductions are performed only after the patient reaches 39 completed weeks of pregnancy.

4.  In-house dedicated anesthesia & neonatology

We have resources that are available 24/7 – Along with 24/7 perinatology, there is in house neonatology, and in house anesthesia dedicated to labor and delivery.  This allows us the ability to respond quickly to any adverse events.

5.  Peanut Balls

We currently use peanut balls to assist patients who have received epidurals to help with laboring down once a patient reaches second stage (complete dilation) to assist in rotation and descent of the baby instead of immediately pushing to prevent patient fatigue.  Patients are then able to wait to push until they feel the urge to push.

What can I do to help reduce the risk of c-section?

Prior to birth

While the hospital you deliver at maybe a significant factor, you can also help reduce the chances of c-section by preparing for the birth. Remember to take a child birth class. We offer many options to fit many different schedules.

But what if I’ve already had a c-section and want to try to have a vaginal birth?

C-sections can be necessary, and may prevent a future vaginal birth in the future, but for many women they can have a vaginal birth following a c-section. We recommend you talk to your obstetrician about this option and take a childbirth class specifically designed for VBAC. 

*Consumer Reports listed Tucson Medical Center as one of nineteen large hospitals in the nation who are not only meeting the target of less than 24 percent of first time low risk pregnancies resulting in c-section, but beating it.

The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care. They collect and transparently report hospital performance, so that we can all find the highest-value care and make informed decisions. When it comes to maternal health they review the following criteria: