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11 Investigates: Study Raises Concerns About Unnecessary C-sections

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The number of cesarean deliveries remains very high in the U.S., and Consumer Reports says many of them are unnecessary.

It has analyzed data from more than 1,500 hospitals in the 22 states where data is available and found several where more than half the women who expect a low-risk delivery undergo a C-section.

For low-risk deliveries, Consumer Reports found that C-section rates ranged from less than 5 percent to more than 50 percent.

Low-risk deliveries are defined as: women who haven't had a C-section before, don't deliver prematurely, and are pregnant with a single baby who is properly positioned.

Consumer Reports graded several hospitals in Southern Colorado.

Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo rated better than the national average, meaning they perform fewer C-sections.

St. Thomas More in Canon City also got a better than average rating.

Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs scored right in line with the national average, as did St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center in Pueblo and the Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center in La Junta.

Prowers Medical Center in Lamar scored worse than the national average, meaning they perform more C-sections.

We reached out to some of these hospitals for their reaction to the ratings.

St. Mary-Corwin released this statement to us:

"At The Birth Place at St. Mary-Corwin, we provide a strong partnership between the expectant mother and her family, the mother's obstetric and pediatric providers, and an experienced nursing staff. With almost 600 births last year alone, we're proud of our proven track record that focuses on a safe and healthy delivery."

Dr. Laura Klein with Memorial Hospital tells 11 News they are working to reduce the number of C-sections that are not medically necessary, but they will not hesitate to perform one if needed. Klein says the ultimate goal is to have healthy babies and moms.

We are still waiting to hear back from Parkview Medical Center.

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.

Unnecessary C-sections drive up medical costs and increase risks for mothers and babies.

Consumer Reports says ask the person who will deliver your baby about the hospital's C-section rates. In general the lower the rate the better.

Consumer Reports says to look for rates lower than the national average, which for low-risk deliveries is close to 18 percent.


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