Healthcare News & Insights

Case study: Fewer C-sections, healthier babies

While many doctors maintain that C-sections and labor induction are neccessary to ensure healthier deliveries, one Florida hospital has proven the opposite.

Tallahassee Memorial Hospital adopted a program first developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to reduce the number of unnecessary inductions and C-sections.

Over the course of three years, the hospital slashed the number of deliveries before 39 weeks from 44% to 37% of all deliveries. In the same period, the rate of first-delivery C-sections dropped from 22% to 16%.

The hospital instituted several initiatives, including:

  • Not allowing physicians to schedule deliveries before 39 weeks without a medical reason. Doctors often miscalculate the due date by up to two weeks. This rule ensures that babies reach at least 37 weeks of gestation.
  • Focus on the Bishop’s scale. The hospital encourages doctors to not schedule deliveries until a patient’s Bishop scale score (rating dilation, baby’s position, etc.) indicate that she is ready to deliver.
  • An improved consent form for every maternity patient. The form gives patients more information — a critical step since studies indicate as few as 3% of C-sections are done because of the mother’s choice.

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