How Delivery Room Management Can Raise Your C-Section Risk: Study

Mom on operating table meeting baby after c-section

When you’re creating your birth plan, you’ll likely only schedule a c-section if your pregnancy is “high-risk”. But plans often change in the delivery room, and you might end up getting a c-section after all. The decision can depend on how your labor is going, but a new study says that it often depends on a factor completely independent of your individual health: the management of the labor unit.

Hospitals with “proactive management practices” that try to address problems before they arise tend to have higher rates of c-sections and surgical complications, according to a new study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. It’s the first of its kind to study the links between how labor and delivery units are managed, how nurses and patients flow in and out, and moms’ health outcomes.

“It is hard to predict when women will go into labor, how long labor will take, and which women may require critical resources like the operating room or blood bank. The way managers address this uncertainty appears to be an independent risk factor for a woman getting a c-section,” says senior author Neel Shah in a Harvard press release.

The somewhat vague phrase “management practices” can be broken down into three main factors: how the staff communicates and collaborates, how nurses are staffed at adequate levels, and…

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