You’re ready for a baby and you want to do everything “right.” Where do you begin?? Should you use a doctor or midwife? Which hospital should you deliver at? Is that a reputable hospital? What is their c-section rate?
Should you hire a birth doula too? There is a lot of evidence proving that having a doula at your bedside throughout your labor decreases your risk of requiring a c-section, and increases your likelihood of having a very satisfying birth. Read more here.
Your chosen provider and chosen hospital go hand-in-hand.
You can’t pick and choose between the two categories. If you LOVE the doctor you’ve been seeing for years and years, then be prepared to deliver at the hospital where s/he has privileges, or else you’ll need to find a new provider for your pregnancy. That being said, next to hiring a doula, the provider you choose is one major factor in reducing your risk of c-section. Below is a chart listing Atlanta-area hospitals’ c-section rates for 2013. These numbers were taken from CBS46 online (read the full article here):
Atlanta Medical Center 25.5%
Dekalb Medical Center 36.0%
Piedmont Hospital - Did not provide (34.6% in 2010)
Northside Hospital Atlanta 40%
Northside Hospital Forsyth 35.5%
North Fulton Regional 19.5%
Emory Midtown 29%
Kennestone Hospital 35.39%
Consider this: these numbers include ALL c-sections.
You might be thinking, “Well, duh!” but that actually might not mean what you think. You are at an increased risk for c-section if you have underlying medical conditions (such as heart problems or obesity), uncontrolled diabetes, preeclampsia, true macrosomia (check out this article on what it means to truly have a “big baby”), induction for non-medical reasons, and the list goes on.
Northside’s statement to CBS includes their c-section rate for low-risk pregnancies alone (32.7%). The other 6.3% of women are having a repeat c-section or are in the high-risk category. Additionally, Northside delivers the most babies of all hospitals in the entire United States! Around 14,000 per year!!! Women experiencing complications (read: high risk!) are brought in from other rural hospitals for access to specialists (for the mother and/or the baby) and access to a higher-acuity NICU (babies who are very sick or very premature).
So what am I getting at? What’s the point? The point is you can deliver at any hospital or birthing center if you have the education and the right tools under your belt. Research your provider – ask him/her what their personal c-section rate is – they are the ones performing the c-sections and contributing to these numbers. Ask if they support the type of birth you desire. Ask the other providers within your practice, as well, because you never know who might be on call the day you go into labor! Get educated (I cannot harp on this one enough!) – take a birthing class. And of course, hire a fabulous doula from The Happiest Doulas!
UPDATED on February 14, 2017:
In the metro Atlanta area, the hospitals that have the LOWEST c-section rates are WellStar North Fulton Regional Hospital and Atlanta Medical Center. We recommend Providence Midwifery (North Fulton) and Intown Midwifery (Atlanta Medical).
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has analyzed Georgia Annual Hospital Questionnaire data to provide you with some key facts. To review the most recent data, follow this link. The data includes the most current rates for c-sections and early elective deliveries, along with the hospital’s typical fee for handling a birth.
Why it matters: C-sections have increased significantly in recent years and experts are calling for less reliance on these procedures, which generally put a mother at risk for future c-sections. Keep reading: How To Avoid a C-section Without Changing Hospitals.