The Women’s Hospital at Saddleback Memorial is Long-Time National Leader in Supporting Vaginal Births, Reducing First Birth C-Sections
Saddleback Memorial Medical Center and its Women’s Hospital have been recognized with an award by California Department of Health Services and Smart Care California for achieving and surpassing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2020 goals of lowering the rate of C-sections for low-risk, first-time cesarean deliveries for 2015.
Decades ago, Saddleback Memorial was among the nation’s first to address this issue and continues to receive accolades for its leadership in this arena. More recently, Saddleback Memorial—along with its sister facility Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach—were just two of three hospitals statewide that participated in a trial with California Maternal Quality Collaborative to successfully and safely reduce its C-section rates and currently acts as a mentor in the collaborative to other hospitals pursuing the national goal.
To foster transparency, Saddleback Memorial was also one of the first health care systems to submit data to California Maternal Data Center and served on the panel to produce a new toolkit for providers of obstetrical services to reduce cesarean rates. As Saddleback Memorial clinicians have worked to spotlight this issue, the hospital has also expanded education initiatives, partnering with obstetricians, nurses, women and families during pregnancy and the community at large to better communicate and increase the understanding of the benefits of vaginal deliveries when safe.
“Saddleback Memorial’s interdisciplinary team of OB/GYNs, perinatologists, neonatologists, anesthesiologists, specialized obstetrical nurses, social workers and other clinicians and support staff are committed to offering the highest quality, safest and most comfortable environment for mothers, babies and their families,” says Michael Haydon, M.D., Medical Director of The Women’s Hospital at Saddleback Memorial.
“While we are working diligently to continue to reduce C-section rates, we will never replace our commitment and dedication to ensuring our number one objective will always be a healthy mom and a healthy baby. Our goal is not to eliminate needed C-sections but rather to address and reduce the number of C-sections that can be replaced by safe vaginal births,” adds Susan Mendelsohn, M.D., Chief of The Women’s Hospital.
Dr. Ronald Naglie, Medical Director of Saddleback Memorial’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and incoming Chief of The Women’s Hospital, explains that “as a result of the dramatic upturn in C-section rates nationally, there has been an increase in mother and baby complication rates, especially in subsequent pregnancies. To address this issue, Saddleback Memorial’s Women’s Hospital has instituted many programs over the years. These include obstetricians in the hospital around the clock to monitor the progress of childbirth and collaboration of our physicians and nursing staff to revise guidelines to allow for the safe continuation of labor—all helping to lower the incidence of C-sections. ”
In honoring Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana S. Dooley applauded “the many individuals and organizations, who through their hard work to lower unnecessary C-section deliveries, are helping maternity care work better for all Californians.”
The announcement of hospitals reaching the Healthy People 2020 C-section rate was made on behalf of Smart Care California, a coalition of public and private health care purchasers promoting safe and affordable health care. The awards will be given annually.