Leading the way to safer childbirth
Our OB team uses fewer
C-sections to labor induction,
leading to healthier moms
July 23, 2015
When you’re having a baby, what should you look for in a hospital?
A medical team with the expertise to handle any complications that may arise for
you and your baby is on the top of the list. But there are other markers of top-notch
Interventions like cesarean sections, episiotomies and induced labor before 39 weeks
have become almost routine at many hospitals—even when they’re not medically
necessary. But studies show that mothers and newborns have better outcomes when
hospitals use these interventions sparingly.
UC Irvine Health has among the lowest cesarean section rates for low-risk
pregnancies in the region: 22 percent, beating the national goal (24 percent)
and the Orange County average (29 percent).†
“C-sections are invasive and major surgery, so there are risks,” says UC Irvine Health
perinatologist, Dr. Manuel Porto, a specialist in high-risk pregnancies and chair of the
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Women who deliver vaginally go home
sooner, recover faster and have less risk of complications. Also, babies have fewer
health problems and are less likely to require intensive care.
Even if you’ve had a C-section previously, chances are you can deliver vaginally next
time with the right preparation and care. The rate of vaginal birth after cesarean, or
VBAC, is 25 percent at UC Irvine Health, twice that of other Orange County hospitals.
“We actively support women who aspire to VBAC,” Porto says.
UC Irvine Health experts also handle more multiple births than elsewhere in
the region. And for women whose families are complete, UC Irvine Medical Center
is one of the few local hospitals providing tubal ligation after delivery or C-section,
Episiotomies are also performed less frequently. These incisions, which enlarge the
vaginal opening just before delivery, can increase the risk of more extensive tears into
the rectum. At UC Irvine Medical Center, the episiotomy rate was 3.3 percent last year,
compared to an Orange County average of 29 percent.
Keeping babies from arriving too soon is critical for their health. That’s why inducing
labor without medical necessity before 39 weeks shouldn’t occur unless absolutely
necessary. “We’ve done zero in the past two years,” says Porto. “We give our maternity
patients the best of both worlds. As little intervention as possible is best for mother
and baby. But when complications arise, our expert team is ready for action.”
Visit ucirvinehealth.org/maternity for a list of UC Irvine Health obstetricians
†California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, Nov. 2013 to Oct. 2014
— UC Irvine Health Marketing & Communications
Featured in UC Irvine Health Summer 2015