WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A nationwide study of more than 1,500 American hospitals by Consumer Reports finds the number of cesarean deliveries remains very high. Nearly one-in-three babies is delivered by C-section.
Consumer Reports finds the rate is high in many hospitals even for low-risk deliveries: women who haven't had a C-section before, don't deliver prematurely, and are pregnant with a single baby who is properly positioned.
"There are situations when a C-section is the safest option," said Consumer Reports Medical Adviser Dr. Orly Avitzur. "But the vast majority of women who anticipate a low-risk delivery should expect to have a natural birth."
The problem is unnecessary C-sections drive up medical costs and increase risks for both mothers and their babies.
"Cesarean sections are really not the easy way out," said Dr. Robert A. Graebe, an OBGYN who has practiced for 33 years at Monmouth Medical Center. "There are consequences of performing cesarean sections. Some of those patients will have an increase in infections, re-admissions to the hospital, things like that."
The good news is some hospitals are working to reduce the number of C-sections they perform.
Consumer Reports says the hospital a woman chooses can make a big difference in whether or not you have a C-section.
In the following ratings, which are on a scale of 1 to 5, the lower-rated hospitals perform more C-sections. Higher-rated hospitals do fewer.
The ratings are based only on the C-section rates for all pregnant mothers who anticipate a low-risk delivery. The data the ratings are based on does not include factors that may increase the risk of a C-section, such as heart problems in the mother or unborn baby.
In Florida, only one hospital, Shands Jacksonville Medical Center in Jacksonville, received the highest score, a 5.
Martin Health System in Stuart was one of 11 Florida hospitals to get a 3.
Consumer Reports found fifty hospitals throughout Florida perform a very high number of C-sections and get a low score, including eight in Palm Beach County and along the Treasure Coast:
- Bethesda Memorial Hospital (Boynton Beach)
- Boca Raton Regional Hospital
- Lakeside Medical Center (Belle Glade)
- Lawnwood Regional Medical Center (Fort Pierce)
- Palms West (Loxahatchee)
- St. Mary's Medical Center (West Palm Beach)
- Wellington Regional Medical Center (West Palm Beach)
- West Boca Medical Center (Boca Raton)