Consumer Reports surveyed more than 1,300 hospitals and SSM Health St. Mary's had the second lowest overall.
C-section rate among low-risk moms of 12.3 percent, far below the national target rate of about 24 percent. Doctor Greg Ward, SLUCARE OB/GYN at SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital, says their philosophy is be patient with the patient.
"We know the labor that starts off on its own has a higher rate of kind of resulting in a vaginal delivery, where as if we are inducing the process or forcing the issue, we do kind of predispose ourselves to a higher rate of cesarean section," she said.
Doctor Ward says some C-sections are necessary and can be live saving,
but if a low risk woman and baby are doing okay in labor giving the expectant mom more time is beneficial.
"Giving patients a longer time in labor before declaring the need for a cesarean section. We used to use four centimeters as a cutoff for the active phase of labor. Newer data suggest we should be using six centimeters. We're patient; we don't put a time limit on the labor process,” Ward said. “The way our practice structure is set up we don't necessarily have to leave the hospital at a certain time. We have physicians here 24 hours a day and we're just dedicated to the patient care."
The SSM Health Medical Minute is reported by Dan Gray every Thursday on KPLR News 11 at 7 PM and KTVI Fox 2 News at 9 PM.