Do women want to know the CS rate in their hospital?

The surprising results of a recent study suggests they don’t want to know.

The study looked at women with low risk pregnancies who were planning a vaginal birth the majority of whom did not want a caesarean delivery if there was no medical need.

  • When asked whether they had checked out the caesarean rate in the hospital they planned to give birth in, the majority had not
  • 55% did not believe that their choice of hospital might affect their chances of having a caesarean
  • When asked whether a high caesarean rate would lead them to change hospital 75% said no, they would rather stay with practitioners they had developed relationship with

The truely surprising result suggested that when women were told that whether or not they had a caesarean could actually depend more upon administration issues and hospital policies than whether they actually needed one or not, they still preferred to stay with the hospital.

Dr. Neel Shah, of Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, one of the researchers said:

“If [women] see a hospital with a 50 percent C-section rate, they don’t see their own chances of having a C-section as being 50 percent. Our research suggests they see it as an abstraction.”

It is unfortunately the case, in the current cost cutting climate, that medical need is not the only factor influencing practitioner decisions about caesarean birth. Ironically while there appear to be women having unnecessary caesareans in some cases, there are also those who want to make an informed choice in favour of a planned caesarean who are being refused that option.

If you have a preference of one birth mode over another it is fundamentally important to arm yourself with enough information to support your choice. Being able to demonstrate an informed opinion and knowing what really constitutes a medical need can significantly affect your birth experience.