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:
-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)
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).