VBAC Series: April is Cesarean Awareness Month

April is Cesarean Awareness Month.  This seems to be designated by the International Cesarean Awareness Network, but I can't really find anything about its origin. 

Part of awareness is knowing your hospital's cesarean section and VBAC rates.  Leap Frog Group collects information from hospitals about their first time cesarean section rate.  This is under the classification of cesarean section, which is not immediately obvious that it is referring to only first time mother's whose baby is in the head down position.   

Consumer Reports recently reported on the variation in hospital’s first time cesarean section rate based on the Leap Frog Group data.  Neighboring hospitals may have very different cesarean section rates.  While some hospitals may claim they have a higher risk population driving their cesarean section rate, this statistic is based on low risk mother's only, leaving no room for that argument. 

While many larger New York City hospitals declined to submit their data to Leap Frog Group, New York State collects similar information.  However, in the NYS data there does not seem to be a difference between high or low risk mothers.  Additionally, primary cesarean section rate may also include mom's who had a previous vaginal delivery, but had a cesarean section in a following pregnancy.  Even without the separation of low risk to high risk pregnancies, the data is somewhat telling, especially between large academic medical centers where patient population should be similar.  NYS data also contains information on their VBAC rate, defined as the number of women delivering vaginally with a previous cesarean section, the denominator is all women delivering with a previous cesarean section. 

Other states may have cesarean section data available.  In a quick search New Jersey and Massachusetts seemed to have reports on the information, rather than an interactive website.  Have information for your state?  Feel free to post a link to it in the comments below.