CesareanRates.org has published state dashboards to track progress toward the national low-risk cesarean birth rate target of 23.9 percent.
Overuse of cesarean birth at the population level is a significant contributor to maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity. The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among developed nations and researchers estimate that at least half of these deaths are preventable.
The low-risk cesarean birth rate of 23.9 percent, also called the NTSV cesarean birth rate, is one of the Maternal, Infant and Child Objectives, defined by Healthy People 2020, a federal project that benchmarks and measures progress over time toward health indicators. The target of 23.9 percent represents a 10 percent reduction from the 2007 baseline of 25.5 percent.
In addition to NTSV progress, CesareanRates.org state dashboards also feature data on maternal morbidity, procedure utilization and some chronic conditions that impact pregnancy outcomes. The Maternal Safety Foundation, the parent organization of CesareanRates.org, recently made a commitment to action to the Patient Safety Movement, a global non-profit, committed to eliminating preventable patient deaths in hospitals.
“Achieving transparency is the first step towards making measurable progress in patient safety. By partnering with CesareanRates.org, we can provide state progress on maternal safety and help providers use data to make better decisions,” explained Joe Kiani, Founder, and Chairman of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation.
According to Jill Arnold, executive director of the Maternal Safety Foundation and its CesareanRates.org program, the goal of making these numbers available is to refresh the narrative on cesarean rates and other metrics of maternal procedure utilization and quality.
“We read media stories regularly about the rising cesarean rate, when in fact the measure that the country’s maternity care providers have been tasked with lowering has plateaued,” said Arnold.
“Journalists frequently cite an outdated World Health Organization target percentage range of 10 to 15 percent for all cesarean births. In the United States, we currently measure quality based on the proportion of cesarean births experienced by first-time moms with full term, singleton pregnancies with the baby in the head-down position. The current national rate of cesarean births among this population is 26 percent, about 24,000 c-sections annually in excess of the target rate.”
Arnold is a member of the PSMF workgroup that created the Actionable Patient Safety Solutions (APSS) on optimizing obstetric safety, which includes postpartum hemorrhage, pre-eclampsia, and reducing unnecessary c-sections. The APSS are evidence-based solutions created by leading medical experts and patient advocates to eliminate preventable patient harm in hospitals.
CesareanRates.org hopes that these state dashboards will inspire secondary analysis by the scientific community on topics related to maternal health, patient safety and method of delivery.
CesareanRates.org is a program of the Maternal Safety Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization working to continuously improve the quality and safety of maternal health care in the United States through advancing quality improvement, transparency, and education. For more information, visit www.maternal.info