Norton Women’s Care rated ‘excellent’ at minimizing avoidable C-sections by U.S. News & World Report

Fewer than 23.9% of first-time, low-risk pregnancies at full term were cesarean deliveries.

Norton Women’s Care, with childbirth services at Norton Hospital and Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital, has been recognized as High Performing in Adult Maternity Care (Uncomplicated Pregnancy) by U.S. News & World Report, rated “excellent” at minimizing avoidable cesarean sections (C-sections).

Caregivers at Norton Healthcare’s two labor and delivery locations deliver more than 8,000 babies a year, and fewer than 23.9% of first-time, low-risk pregnancies at full term were cesarean deliveries.

“Norton Women’s Care has worked tirelessly to improve the quality outcomes for our patients,” said Kris E. Barnsfather, M.D., MBA, FACOG, OB/GYN with Norton Women’s Care. “Since 2018, Norton Healthcare has lowered its NTSV (nulliparous, term, singleton, vertex) cesarean birth rate from 35% to 23.8% as of January 2022, with monthly rates varying as can be expected. We continue to align ourselves with the Healthy People 2030 goal of 23.6% and are almost there.”

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Taking action to reduce C-section rates

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2020, nearly one-third (31.8%) of all live births in the U.S. were cesarean deliveries. CDC data shows the C-section rate in the U.S. has risen from being less than one-quarter (23.5%) in 1991, and providers have been encouraged to minimize the health risks for otherwise healthy patients.

In order to reduce C-section rates, Norton Women’s Care formed a cesarean reduction committee, which was tasked with evaluating how to reduce c-section rates.

The committee reviewed literature and practices within Norton Healthcare and created an “auditing tool” to identify areas of improvement for management of labor. The committee’s collaborative effort involved peer reviews to establish the most effective ideas and practices.

Guidelines updated by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, including the definition of labor and criteria for deciding when a patient has an arrest of labor, were reviewed and shared in a new form for providers. Providers personalize the form to each patient when evaluating the need for a C-section. The form is then reviewed by the unit manager, which encourages reflection on the decisions and actions during the stages of labor.

“We are continuing to look for other areas where we can make improvements, including risk-factor reduction, such as reducing obesity before pregnancy and maintaining a healthy weight gain during pregnancy,” Dr. Barnsfather said.

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