Consumer Reports has analyzed more than 1,500 hospitals and found several where more than half of the women who expect a low-risk delivery end up having a C-section.
Officials said Cesarean sections are not only more expensive, they are also more risky for moms and babies.
Mom Melek Speros was looking forward to a natural childbirth.
But when her oldest child was born, she said she felt pressured to have a C-section.
Speros said, “He said because of the shape of my pelvis that I wouldn’t be able to deliver a baby of any size, average, small, big, whatever.”
Yet when her youngest child came along, Speros was able to have a natural childbirth.
Nationwide, almost a third of babies are delivered by C-section.
Consumer Reports’ analysis finds the rate is high in many hospitals, even for low-risk deliveries.
That is for women who have not had a C-section before, aren’t delivering prematurely and are pregnant with a single baby who is properly positioned.
“There are situations when a C-section is the safest option but the vast majority of women who anticipate a low-risk delivery should expect to have a natural birth,” Consumer Reports’ Dr. Orly Avitzur said.
Consumer Reports said the hospital you choose can make a big difference in whether or not you have a C-section.
Researchers analyzed data from over 1,500 hospitals in the 22 states where the data is available.
“For low-risk deliveries, we found that C-section rates ranged from less than 5 percent to more than 50 percent,” Dr. Avitzur said.
Some hospitals are working to reduce the number of C-sections they perform.
“Cesarean sections are really not the easy way out,” Dr. Avitzur said. “There’s consequences of performing Cesarean sections in that some of those patients will need repeat Cesarean sections, some of those patients will have an increase in infections, readmissions to the hospital, things like that.”
Speros now teaches other women about how to avoid unnecessary C-sections.
So what can you do?
The simplest thing is to ask about the hospital’s C-section rate.
Look for rates lower than the national average, which for low-risk deliveries is close to 18 percent.