Alameda Health System Highland Hospital, one of only three Baby-Friendly designated hospitals in the Bay Area, has earned a spot on California’s 2016 Hospital C-Section Honor Roll.

California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley recently recognized the Oakland hospital as one of 104 in the state which have met or exceeded a federal goal for reducing C-section births.

The 2016 Hospital C-Section Honor Roll was issued by Smart Care California, a multi-stakeholder work group that includes health care purchasers. It celebrates hospitals that have reduced the number of C-sections for low-risk, first-birth deliveries to 23.9 percent or less. By beating the target set by the federal Healthy People 2020 initiative by three years, the hospitals on the Honor Roll are marking themselves as leaders in the field.

Highland Hospital’s ability to successfully reduce C-sections has largely been driven by its 24/7 access to nurse midwives and integration of midwifery with the physician team, said Dr. Johara Chapman, Chair of Maternal Child Health.

Highland’s rate of 17 percent for low-risk, first-birth C-sections is nearly seven percent below the federal benchmark set to receive this recognition.

Highland has consistently been recognized for its low number of C-sections and high rate of vaginal birth after caesarean.

While C-sections can save lives in certain circumstances, they pose serious risks to mothers and babies, often leading to costly complications. Reducing the rate depends in large part on awareness of birthing options available and on practice patterns of physicians.

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