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Why is the low-risk cesarean delivery rate important?

Cesarean delivery is the most common major operating room procedure performed in the United States. Cesarean birth has a longer recovery time compared to vaginal birth and, like any surgery, comes with the risk of complications. It can also lead to complications in later pregnancies. However, even when everything leading up to the delivery seems “normal” and “low risk”, sometimes it is necessary to perform a cesarean delivery for the safety of the baby, the mother, or both.


What does the low-risk cesarean delivery rate measure?

When we talk about low-risk cesarean deliveries, “low-risk” means a first-time mother is delivering one baby (not twins or triplets), head-first, at full term (near the due date). The low-risk cesarean rate is the percentage of these low-risk pregnancies that are delivered by cesarean delivery. 

Reducing the low-risk cesarean delivery rate is a nationwide health improvement Healthy People 2020 Goal intended to help improve health care in the United States. You can see how we are comparing to the rest of Texas, and the rest of the nation, based on this important goal here.


What can you do as a patient?