C-section rates for new mothers vary across Minn., report says

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A new report from Minnesota Community Measurement, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that publishes report cards on health care quality, found that C-section rates for first-time moms range dramatically across the state.

The report shows the statewide average was 26 percent during a 12-month period ending in June 2012.

Dr. Steve Calvin, a maternal/fetal medicine specialist, tells the Pioneer Press that Minnesota's primary C-section rate is good relative to rest of the country, but he would like to see rates even lower.

According to Healthgrades' 2012 Trends in Women’s Health in American Hospitals report, the percentage of babies delivered via C-section reached an all-time high of 34 percent, more than double the World Health Organization's recommendation of 10-15 percent.

Health professionals say more mothers are electing to have C-sections when there is no medical reason to do so, which poses risks to both mother and baby.

The Star Tribune reports the lowest rate found in the state was at Hennepin County Medical Center's Brooklyn Park clinic at just 3 percent. Fairview Andover and Oakdale Ob/Gyn had C-section rates under 10 percent.

Two clinics reported rates over 50 percent: Chippewa County Montevideo Hospital and Fairview Princeton Clinic.

Winona Health set the benchmark for the medical group with the lowest C-section rates for first-time mothers at 14 percent.

Report authors say that a small number of patients can skew results. Also, the report doesn't track whether the C-sections were medically necessary.

The nonprofit monitors clinic performance on 19 medical conditions. This is the first time it has tracked C-section rates.

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