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Lamaze: New Hospital Data and Childbirth Education, Two Powerful Tools to Help Women Push for Better Birth Outcomes

Statement From:
Maria Brooks, BSN, RNC-OB, LCCE, FACCE
President, Lamaze International

Media Contact:  
Melissa Zuckerman, JPA Health Communications,
202-591-4021, melissa@jpa.com

Washington, D.C. (April 13, 2016)—Today’s Consumer Reports release on how hospitals rank based on cesarean birth rates provides important insights for the health of women and babies. A key finding that six in 10 of the hospitals perform cesarean surgery at rates higher than the national target of 23.9 percent, set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, confirms that women must go into childbirth with the education and information they need to push for the best birth outcomes for her and baby.  

Consumer Reports found dramatic variations in cesarean birth rates among all U.S. hospitals. For example, cesarean birth rates at large hospitals range from 11 percent at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y., to 53 percent at South Miami Hospital in Miami.

At Lamaze International, we encourage women to use the Consumer Reports hospital ranking information to help make choices in their care. Ultimately, some women will give birth in well-ranked hospitals, others in poorly-ranked hospitals. No matter where a woman gives birth, she must be prepared for either scenario, and know how to push for evidence-based care that can help her avoid an unnecessary cesarean.

Cesarean surgery can be lifesaving when used appropriately. Yet, overuse of the surgery can pose significant risks to mom and baby. Risks to mother include: post-operative wound infections, blood clots, complications from anesthesia, injury to organs, infertility and dangerous placental complications in future pregnancies. Risks to baby include: accidental surgical cuts, need for intensive care, premature delivery and breathing difficulties at birth and beyond.

Evidence-based childbirth education can help women reduce their risks of medical interventions, like avoiding an unnecessary cesarean birth. In fact, women who responded to a Lamaze survey reported a cesarean rate of 20 percent. That’s 13 percent less than the national cesarean rate of 33 percent. In many cases, unnecessary cesarean surgery is preventable by simply applying what we know works for women and babies in childbirth. When women have evidence-based childbirth education, they feel empowered and confident in making informed decisions to let labor begin on its own, walk around and stay upright during labor and avoid other interventions that may prevent them from having the best birth outcomes.

Lamaze International is committed to providing women the resources and information they need for navigating labor and birth choices for the safest, healthiest birth. 

Click here to learn more about cesarean surgery.

About Lamaze International

Lamaze International advances safe and healthy pregnancy, birth and early parenting through evidence-based education and advocacy. Knowing that pregnancy and childbirth can be demanding on a woman’s body and mind, Lamaze serves as a resource for information about what to expect and what choices are available during the childbearing years. Lamaze education and practices are based on the best and most current medical evidence available. Working closely with their families, health care providers and Lamaze educators, millions of pregnant women have achieved their desired childbirth outcomes using Lamaze practices. The best way to learn about Lamaze’s steps to a safe and healthy birth is to take a class with a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE). To find classes in your area, or for more information visit www.lamaze.org.

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