C-Section Rate Reductions Panned

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , July 1, 2013

Binder says ACOG has listened to critics and taken some steps to address the overuse of cesareans. "For example, ACOG now does not now automatically recommend a cesarean section when a woman has had a cesarean in the past," she says.  

"There has been a major push and frankly Leapfrog was the first domino to push on this. We launched a campaign on early elective deliveries that are scheduled without a medical reason either by C section or induction prior to 39 weeks gestation. That is too early. If you have a delivery at that gestational age, 37 to 39 weeks, babies end up on respirators and in (neo-natal intensive care units) and it's not safe."

Even with the support of the March of Dimes and decades of warnings from ACOG, Binder says the early elective deliveries were occurring "at a very high rate."

"Finally, in 2010 Leapfrog put out rates of early elective deliveries by hospital. That really galvanized things very quickly. We got a lot of attention," Binder says.

"The March of Dimes was very excited by the amount of attention we got for this announcement and they were able to use it to accelerate their own campaign against these deliveries. There has been a real movement around reducing early elective deliveries and these results do reflect that."

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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