South Florida continues to have the HIGHEST c-section rates in the entire country, with over 55% of mothers delivering via c-section in Miami-Dade. According to credit consumer reports, the federal government had a set a goal in 2016 of lowering the national C-section rate to 23.9 percent to get closer to what is considered the “optimal rate”. The World Health Organization suggests it lies between 10 and 15 percent, while a more recent study found it is a little higher, around 19 percent.
Now, unfortunately, North America and Western Europe are well above this optimal rate, with 32 percent and 27 percent of babies in 2015 delivered by C-section, respectively. The only region with a higher rate than North America is Latin America and the Caribbean, where 44 percent of all deliveries were C-sections in 2015. This is something I hope to work on soon.
Here in Miami-Dade County, we are sitting currently at an average of 63% which is well above the national average of 32%. The issue with C-section in Florida is that the numbers for necessary C-sections don’t quite add up. Higher rates indicate there are probably women undergoing surgeries that aren’t necessary or indicated. That can make the surgery more risky for mom and baby, and according to a 2018 study, increases the chance of death for the mom by at least 60 percent.
The researchers found that one Florida hospital, Hialeah Hospital in South Florida, had a C-section rate of 68 percent. That is the highest rate in the entire United States. Stay away Mamas!
But why? Why is the rate so high in South Florida? You guessed it. Money!
C-sections cost more than TWICE as much as vaginal birth costs, with the average cost of a C-section in South Florida being around $20,000. And that does not include your follow-up visits by the way. My all-natural birth in Miami-Dade cost me only $4,000 out-of-pocket – and included 6 weeks of weekly postpartum visits with my midwife. That is a huge difference.
Now I’m not saying C-section are bad. A C-section is still a birth and it still makes you a mother! And C-sections can absolutely be medically necessary, especially if baby and/or mom are in distress. C-sections have saved babies and mothers alike, so I am in no way knocking C-sections or the women who chose to go this route. I have plenty of clients that are C-section moms, some by choice and some not.
The issue I have is that there are mothers out there that are coerced or sometimes forced into a procedure they didn’t want to have, all for profits.
I wish it could be easy. I wish we could start the process of bringing these numbers down TODAY with a simple solution: Hospitals need to pay doctors equally for vaginal births and C-sections!
Until then, please educate yourself on the hospital you choose and don’t be afraid to ask other moms about there experiences. The more we share, the more we can help make birth safer for families everywhere!
Check out these link for more info on South Florida hospitals: