Consumer reports found that hospitals perform an unnecessarily high amount of Cesarean sections.
More than half of pregnant women at Los Angeles Community Hospital who have never had a C-section before, were not premature, and had a properly positioned baby underwent the procedure, a Consumer Reports news release reported.
The researchers looked at 1,500 hospitals in 22 U.S. states, and found a high variance in the percentage of C-sections that were performed on these women versus how many went through natural births.
At California Hospital Medical Center the number of low-risk pregnancies that result in C-sections is 15 percent, at Western Medical Center Anaheim the percentage is 11 percent even though it is only 28 miles away.
The researchers found this type of disparity to be present in communities all over the country. The C-sections performed in these cases are ""unsupportable by professional guidelines and studies of birth outcomes," Elliot Main, M.D., director of the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative and former chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco said in the news release.
About 66 percent of the hospitals included in the report got the two lowest scores in terms of the amount of C-sections they performed in cases of low-risk pregnancy. Only 12 percent were given a score in the top two marks.
"We think it's time those hidden numbers are brought to light," John Santa, M.D., medical director of Consumer Reports Health, said in the news release. "How you deliver your baby should be determined by the safest delivery method, not which hospital you choose."
Many health organizations have made it a priority to try to decrease the rate of unnecessary C-sections because of the added health risks involved. C-sections are much harder to recover from than vaginal births and can cause more pain and breathing problems in the baby.
"C-sections increase the risk of mortality and complications," Kent Heyborne, M.D., chief of obstetrics at Denver Health Medical Center, said in the news release. "But we're just now becoming aware of the down stream effects."