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New York Cesarean Rates, 2008 and 2009

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By ANaturalAdvocate

Recently, New York State officials released the most recent birth data available for the state. New York State collects a large amount of data surrounding birth, including not only Cesarean section rates, but also induction rates by type of induction, augmentation rates, breastfeeding rates, and usage and type of pain medication. You can visit the Department of Health’s Hospital Profile page where you can search for and work with all the data.

According to the Maternity Information: Childbirth Services page:

New York State’s Maternity Information Law requires each hospital to provide the following information about its childbirth practices and procedures. This information can help you to better understand what you can expect, learn more about your childbirth choices, and plan for your baby’s birth.

This information, alone, doesn’t tell you that one hospital is better than another for you. If a hospital has fewer than 200 births per year, the use of special procedures in just a few births could change its rates.

The types of births could affect the rates as well. Some hospitals offer specialized services to women who are expected to have complicated or high-risk births, or whose babies are not expected to develop normally. These hospitals can be expected to have higher rates of the special procedures than hospitals that do not offer these services.

This information also does not tell you about your doctor’s or nurse-midwife’s practice. However, the information can be used when discussing your wishes with your doctor or nurse-midwife, and to find out if his or her use of special procedures is similar to or different from that of the hospital.


The Department of Health also encourages mothers’ involvement in decision-making:

You should play an active role in making your childbirth the kind of experience you want. To do so, you need information. Take part in childbirth preparation classes and read books about childbirth. Ask questions and discuss your choices and wishes with your doctor or nurse-midwife.


A few notes, and then the raw numbers:

-NYC hospital data is from 2008, while non-NYC data is from 2009.

-The statewide section rate (NYC included) is 34.80%. Without NYC, the statewide average is 37.20%.

-The hospital with the highest section rate is Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, at 56.20% (and a VBAC rate of only 4.10%). No births were reported as being midwife-attended.

-The hospital with the lowest section rate is North Central Bronx Hospital, at 15.90% (and a VBAC rate of 40.20%). Midwives were reported to have attended over 78% of births.


Some notable figures:

  • St. Peters Hospital in Albany has a reported AROM induction rate of 53.80%.
  • New York Presbyterian Hospital - New York Weill Cornell Center has a reported external fetal monitoring rate of only 23.10% - and internal of only 5.20%.
  • The highest breech rate was just over 1%.
  • Jamaica Hospital Medical Center claims an overall breastfeeding rate (defined as a baby that receives ANY breastmilk) of just over 88%, but 99.60% of breastfed babies are supplemented with formula. Their section rate is 41%, which is higher than state and national averages, but still below a number of other state hospitals.


New York City Section Rates (click to enlarge)



Non-New York City Section Rates (click to enlarge)

(Adirondack Medical Center - Nathan Littauer Hospital)

(Nathan Littauer Hospital - Wyoming County Community Hospital)


The Department of Health also publishes Your Guide To A Healthy Birth, available by request by writing to Healthy Babies, New York State Department of Health, Box 2000, Albany, NY 12220.

You can also obtain Choices in Childbirth’s New York Guide To A Healthy Birth from their website (national guides are also available).




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Reader Comments (4)

99.6 percent are supplemented with formula? That just makes me sad.

p.s. I've been doing some analysis of washington state's birth certificate data on my blog. I haven't been particularly consistent, but I plan to do lots of posts.

March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Does the "supplemented with formula" figure include babies who have low blood sugar as newborns, so the hospital tells the mother, either we have to give him formula or sugar water? Because my third and my oldest daughter's first were in that category, but neither had a drop of formula after they left the hospital.

Interesting about North Central Bronx hospital. Are there figures for "number of medicaid patients" and "number of patients with private insurance"? I do disability claims of people living in the Bronx (and other places in NY but they seem to send us a large number from the Bronx) and my impression is that there are a large number of people on Medicaid who go there. Which makes sense, as if there were a lot of money to be made there, the OB's wouldn't be ceding the market and allowing 78% of the babies to be delivered by midwives!

The hospital where I worked as a nurse,(not on the maternity floor) exactly matches the state C section rate. And almost no VBACS. They must have a ban. Certainly they don't meet the "always an anaesthesiologist present" criterion. It is the kind of hospital where in the middle of the night the only doctor in the place is one ER doc. Which of course makes you wonder about the "What about if you need an emergency C section?" issue. I am sure they have docs on call who don't live far away, but still..

March 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Peterson

I have to wonder how many of the "supplemented with formula" babies' mothers had no idea that the supplementing was happening.

My daughter (first unnecesarean) was given something - not sure if it was sugar water or formula while I was still in recovery, even though I had stated that she was bf only. My husband, who was with her, just didn't know any better at the time to say "NO!!!". I didn't even find out until she was 18 months old, and was conversing with friends. I stated something about "oh, they didn't give her any..." and my husband responded "well...."

*sigh* (note I don't live in NY, but just generally commenting)

March 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Laura: We'd love to see what you're doing!

Susan: There's no breakdown on the site of Medicaid v. private insurance patients, although I imagine the data could be pulled together from various places. There's also no breakdown of the reasons for supplementation, just number of "breastfed babies" (meaning they received any amount of breastmilk, including just a first nursing) and the supplementation rate for those "breastfed babies."

Jennifer: I'm sorry to hear that was given to your daughter against your wishes, and also that they didn't inform you. It seems a terribly breach of trust.

March 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterANaturalAdvocate
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