Consumer Reports has rated hospitals across the country for unnecessary cesarean procedures. About 80 Wisconsin hospitals area involved, including two from Madison.
Meriter Hospital was rated below average for the number of C-sections performed on low-risk mothers.
"Everyone's unique. There are different situations. Something you try to improve, but sometimes, C-section is just the only option," Meriter spokesperson Leah Huibregtse said.
The report considered pregnant women who anticipated a healthy pregnancy. It took those who had no prior C-sections, who didn't deliver prematurely, who were carrying just one baby and whose baby was properly positioned for a successful natural delivery.
Not included were factors such as overweight pregnancies, diabetes, hypertension, or pre-existing heart conditions. Huibregtse said those issues should be considered for a more accurate evaluation.
"The report was, from what I can tell, comprised of billing records," Huibregtse said. "So while they did consider some high-risk factors, they don't consider all high-risk factors."
Saint Mary's Hospital came in as average for the number of C-sections performed in low-risk situations. OBGYN Dr. Susan Davidson agreed that more factors should have been considered, but is not surprised about the evaluations nationwide.
"In some of those patients, it's appropriate to induce labor and have the baby come because the risks of waiting are bigger than the risk of inducing the labor," Davidson said.
Davidson said only one or two women come into her practice each year voluntarily opting for a C-section. She encourages her patients to be patient with the process and to have realistic expectations of labor rather than push for surgery.
"One has to ask if there's something medically happening or is there another factor influencing the C-section rate," Davidson said.
Huibregtse said doctors at Meriter have been successful reducing the number of expecting mothers voluntarily scheduling C-sections.
"For us, that's the biggest number. We want to make sure babies are born at full-term and born healthy," Huibregtse said.