“When you decrease C-sections, delay delivery until after 39 weeks and let labor happen naturally, you improve health outcomes for the mother and the baby,” said Dr. Sandra Lopez, MD, an obstetrics doctor at Tri-City Medical Center. “Inducing labor can lead to a C-section and a C-section can lead to complications for the mother. Babies born under 39 weeks are also more likely to need admission to the NICU. In the majority of first-time, low risk pregnancies, it’s preferable to allow labor to occur naturally.”
In a news release
, the state HHS agency reported: “While life-saving in some circumstances, unnecessary C-sections can pose serious risks to mothers—higher rates of hemorrhage, transfusions, infection and blood clots—and babies—higher rates of infection, respiratory complications and neonatal intensive care unit stays.
“Evidence suggests that a woman’s chance of having a C-section largely depends on where she delivers and the practice pattern of her physician and clinical team. Even for low-risk, first-birth pregnancies, huge variation exists in hospital C-section rates. Rates in California hospitals range from less than 15 percent to more than 60 percent. Experts find that variation of this magnitude is a signal of a problem that needs to be addressed.”
Smart Care California is a public-private partnership working to promote safe, affordable health care in California. The group currently focuses on three issues: C-sections, opioids and low back pain. Collectively, Smart Care California participants purchase or manage care for more than 16 million Californians—or 40 percent of the state. Smart Care California is co-chaired by the state’s leading health care purchasers: DHCS, which administers MediCal; Covered California, the state’s health insurance marketplace; and CalPERS, which manages pension and health benefits for California’s public employees, retirees, and their families. IHA convenes and coordinates the partnership with funding from the California Health Care Foundation. Learn more about Smart Care California athttp://www.iha.org/our-work/insights/smart-care-california