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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1994 Jun;170(6):1790-9; discussion 1799-802.

The Green Bay cesarean section study. III. Falling cesarean birth rates without a formal curtailment program.

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  • 1St. Vincent and Bellin Memorial Hospitals, Green Bay, Wisconsin.



We observed decreases in cesarean birth rates at two Green Bay hospitals after the 1990 publication of our first cesarean section study. The purpose of this study was to determine the causes of those decreases and to see whether any outcome changes occurred with lower rates. An additional objective was to determine the perceptions of the 10 physicians regarding the determinants of cesarean birth rates.


We compared recent cesarean birth rates (1990 to 1992) to former rates (1986 to 1988) for 10 of the 11 physicians analyzed in our previous studies. Newborn outcomes were analyzed to determine whether variations occur in comparing low to high cesarean rate physician groups.


The total, primary, and repeat cesarean birth rates declined from 13.3% to 10.2%, 8.6% to 6.8%, and 4.7% to 3.4%, respectively, between 1986 to 1988 and 1990 to 1992. Variations in cesarean rates occurred among physicians and groups of physicians. Higher cesarean rates did not result in better perinatal outcome. Literature reports, residency training, continuing medical education attendance, and liability risks were the major determinants of cesarean birth as perceived by the 10 physicians in the study. The least important determinant, rated fifteenth of 15, was the national cesarean birth rate.

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