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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1996 Jan;174(1 Pt 1):184-91.

Decreasing the cesarean section rate in a private hospital: success without mandated clinical changes.

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Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, Laguna Hills, California, USA.



We analyzed the delivery statistics from our institution to describe a successful program of cesarean section delivery reduction and to help us understand what factors explained the reduction.


A retrospective analysis of various cesarean section rates and risk factors from a prospectively collected delivery database of all patients delivered between May 15, 1988, and June 30, 1994. During the study period we instituted a program of increasing awareness, confidential provider feedback, more aggressive laboring techniques, and other clinical guidelines. The delivery data were divided into 6-month intervals and analyzed by chi 2 tables.


The overall cesarean section rate fell from 31.1% to 15.4%. Similar reductions were noted in the primary (17.9% to 9.8%) and repeat cesarean section rates (13.2% to 5.7%). The primary cesarean section rate fall was accompanied by a drop in abdominal delivery for cephalopelvic disproportion and fetal distress. The repeat cesarean section rate is explained by a significant increase in trial and successful vaginal birth after cesarean delivery. No increase in maternal, fetal, or neonatal morbidity or mortality was observed.


We have demonstrated that the cesarean delivery rate can be safely lowered in a private hospital without mandated clinical changes. Our data suggest that careful and detailed feedback can lead to improved clinical practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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