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Celebrating a Welcome Decrease in C-section Births at Adventist Health Simi Valley


Caroline Esparza
Adventist Health Simi Valley

Adventist Health Simi Valley (AHSV) has received special recognition for our success in reducing the rate of C-section births among first-time mothers who have had low-risk pregnancies. This is the second year in a row AHSV has been named to the Hospital C-Section Honor Roll.

AHSV was one of only four hospitals in Ventura County to receive this honor—and the only hospital in the Simi Valley/Moorpark/Thousand Oaks area. The California Department of Health and Human Services announced the honor roll recipients on behalf of Smart Care California, a coalition of public and private health care purchasers in the state.

Reducing the Risks of C-section

There are situations in which a C-section saves the life of the mother and/or baby. However, the majority of C-sections are not scheduled in order to save a life. Over the past 20 years or more, the rate of these unnecessary C-sections has risen among hospitals in the U.S. In response, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services started a program called Healthy People 2020, with a goal of reducing unnecessary C-sections.

“A reduction in the number of unnecessary C-sections has a real impact on the lives of both mothers and their babies,” said Caroline Esparza, chief nursing officer and chief operating officer at Adventist Health Simi Valley. “Among mothers, C-sections can increase the risk of hemorrhage (bleeding), blood transfusions, infection and blood clots. Babies born through C-section are at more risk for infection, respiratory (breathing) complications and the need to stay in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).”

In addition, studies have shown that a woman who delivers by C-section has a 90 percent chance of delivering any additional children by C-section. Each time she has this procedure, she exposes herself and her baby to the associated risks.

C-section rates in California hospitals range from less than 15 percent to more than 60 percent. The Healthy People 2020 target is 23.9 percent for first-time mothers with low-risk pregnancies.