Michigan: Doing something about high cesarean rates

Very intriguing study coming out of Michigan.

Preliminary results from the Michigan Health and Hospital Association Keystone obstetrics project, which involves 65 hospitals–including most of the state’s major birth centers–show that the project so far has been very successful in reducing unnecessary cesarean sections.

The Keystone project discourages elective or scheduled sections, and the use of labor-inducing drugs, before 39 weeks gestation unless a woman is having a pregnancy complication that necessitates an early delivery. The results are encouraging:

Way to go, Wolverine State!

In the U.S., the C-section rate hovers at about 32% of all births. In Michigan, it was 34% in 2008, the latest year for which figures are available. He said Oakwood has succeeded in getting C-section rates down to 27% at its South Shore Medical Center in Trenton and its Annapolis hospital in Wayne, and 30% at Oakwood in Dearborn, where the C-section rate is higher because it sees more high-risk patients.

Breaking the data down a bit more:

Early data show elective C-sections before 39 weeks of pregnancy fell to 6% from 24% of all births [compared with 2008], and use of labor-inducing drugs dropped to 7% from 20% of all births, according to data collected from March 2010 to March 2011.

Not only that, but there were fewer babies admitted to neonatal ICUs, and Apgar scores, which measure a baby’s adaptation to life outside the womb in the first five minutes of life, were significantly higher as well.

If the preliminary results are borne out by the final study (yet to be published), Michigan will hopefully lead the way in changing how childbirth is managed in American hospitals.

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Filed under Cesareans, Natural childbirth

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