Frequently asked questions about C-section rates
Q: What is a base C-section rate?
This is the rate for all C-sections at any given hospital — a percentage derived by dividing C-sections by total live births. This rate is adjusted for maternal age because older mothers are more likely to require a C-section. You can find the base rates for all 253 hospitals in this database by clicking on the individual hospitals. The base rates are always going to be higher than the low-risk rate.
Q: What is a low-risk C-section rate?
The low-risk rate, featured in this database, excludes women who have cesareans based on specific medical needs, including woman who had a prior C-section, twins, breech babies and babies delivered before term (which covers babies induced early due to diabetes, heart disease and other complications). This data also excluded births that resulted in the death of the baby.
Q: How did a hospital get counted in the data?
California has about 430 hospitals, but not all have maternity wards. The database examined 258 hospitals that reported birthing statistics to the state during the timeframe analyzed — 2005 through 2007. Five of those 258 hospitals were excluded from the analysis because of missing data. Valleycare Medical Center in Alameda County; Kaiser Permanente Antioch Medical Center in Contra Costa County; Selma Community Hospital in Fresno County; Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital in Los Angeles County; and Rideout Memorial Hospital in Yuba County. Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital shut it down in 2007, leaving significant gaps in its data. The four other hospitals were missing C-section data for most of the three years (2005-07).