Reducing cesarean births among low-risk women with no prior births is one of the Healthy People 2030 objectives. Although C-sections can prevent injury or death in women who are at higher risk of complications or have unexpected complications, they also are linked to increased risk of infections and blood clots. And many women who aren’t at higher risk for delivery complications get unnecessary C-sections.
Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was among four U.S. hospital sites piloting an innovative initiative called TeamBirth “to provide new approaches to perinatal care, as well as to reduce the number of medically unnecessary cesarean deliveries.” The pilot project was developed and administered by Ariadne Labs, a joint health system innovation center of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
TeamBirth is designed “to impact the whole delivery process and lead to clearer communication between moms and delivery staff members.” The process includes 1) following a one-page obstetrical triage guide to prevent premature admission of women in the latent states of labor, 2) using a white board in the laboring mother’s room to list the preferences and care plan for mom and baby, and 3) including the mom in huddles with the clinical care and support team for every stage of labor and every update, which is considered “quite an innovation” though there’s no technology involved.
As a result of the pilot at Saint Francis, the number of C-sections has dropped. In 2017, 33% of babies born at the hospital were delivered via C-section. In 2022, the total number of C-sections dropped to just over 26%, and it continues to decrease. At the same time, patient satisfaction scores have increased significantly.
With these promising outcomes, other Saint Francis Health System hospitals have adopted the program. In March 2022, several other hospitals in the state also launched TeamBirth.Read more.