One of the latest things going around our birth advocacy community is the 2008 cesarean and vaginal birth rates for the Twin Cities metro hospitals. As many of us in ICAN have learned - it's important to consider these rates when giving birth. Just as it's important to consider your provider's individual numbers as well. I was kind of saddened to learn that Unity's c-section rate (where I had my cesarean) was on the low end. I guess I still kind of wish that my induction for pre-eclampsia would have worked out.
Those of us who have had a VBAC or are preparing for a VBAC are considering where to give birth. For those of us who decide that it will be hospital, these rates should be very helpful in deciding where to give birth. A friend of mine just became pregnant for the first time and who did she call right away? Me - and believe me, I do feel honored. She called me because ever since my baby #1 came I've been very vocal about birth - go figure. In just one night I got her thinking about midwifery care, and then after emailing her some information, I got her focused on the East Metro hospitals (minus United) instead of Abbott. All this before this handy little spreadsheet came out:
When looking at these numbers - it's important to consider the cesarean vs. vaginal birth rates. Obviously the higher the c-section rate - the more likely your chances are of having one. That is why it is important to know your provider's c-section rates, vaginal birth rates, VBAC success rates. The World Health Organization recommends a c-section rate no higher than 10-15% to keep the surgeries from doing more harm than good. Only one of our hospitals actually measures up to that - so that's a whole other post, but consider these rates and may you use it to ask questions of your providers, do research before deciding where you are going to birth. I had my VBAC at U of M Fairview, Riverside. They are on the higher end for the metro c-section rates, however, my midwife group had an 85-90% success rate for VBAC deliveries. That number was definitely a factor in helping me choose those particular providers. It all goes back to making an informed decision. Hopefully this will be another piece towards helping women make informed decisions.