Illinois C-Section Rates Released
By Julie Deardorff in Julie's Health Club, Chicago Tribune, November 03, 2009
Three of every 10 women have C-sections
Cesarean sections are more common than ever in the U.S. But the rate of C-sections varies dramatically between hospitals—and can be as high as 35 percent--according to the 2008 Illinois Department of Public Health hospital statistics.
It’s estimated that only about 5 percent of C-sections are true emergencies. Another 3 percent are elective, meaning there’s no medical reason to have one. The rest fall into a murky area: the mother plans a vaginal birth but is past her due date, labor isn't progressing as quickly as everyone would like and the baby is growing larger, Cara Birnbaum wrote in "What Doctors don't Tell you About C-Sections."
Factors contributing to the increased number of C-sections include older moms-to-be (C-sections increase with maternal age), heavier pregnant women (overweight women are more likely to require C-sections), and a rise in induced labor, which increases the chance a woman will need a C-section.
Technology, such as recording the fetal heart rate, also plays a role: Skittish doctors are more likely to play it safe and perform major abdominal surgery if there’s any hint of trouble.
C-sections can be lifesaving, but research suggests they’re associated with extra risks in comparison with vaginal birth. New moms experience more physical problems, longer recovery (since they’ve had major surgery) and more emotional issues. Babies are born by cesarean are less likely to be breastfed and more likely to experience breathing problems at birth and asthma as they get older.
Healthy People 2010, the Centers for Disease Control’s national health campaign, is working to lower the C-section rate to 15 percent among low-risk women giving birth for the first time.
Here’s how some local hospitals compare:
Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington—35 percent (1,724 births 601 C-sections)
Advocate Medical Center in Oak Lawn—35 percent (4,233 births 1520 C-sections)
Resurrection Saint Joseph Hospital, Chicago—34 percent (1895 births 647 C-sections)
Advocate Condell Medical Center Libertyville, 30 percent (545 births 165 C-sections)
University of Chicago Medical Center, 29 percent (2,013 births 585 C-sections)
Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Chicago, 29 percent (2,931 births 866 C-sections)
Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, 28 percent (11,958 births 3,418 C-sections)
Elmhurst Hospital, 26 percent (1,426 births 374 C-sections)
Evanston Hospital, 26 percent (3,590 births 966 C-sections)
Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, 26 percent (2,252 births 588 C-sections)
Swedish Covenant Hospital, Chicago, 25 percent, (2,464 births 618 C-sections)
West Suburban Hospital, Oak Park, 20 percent (2,175 births 453 C-sections)
University of Illinois Medical Center, Chicago, 14 percent (2,893 births 433 C-sections)