Lies, damned lies, and statistics: A look at 2017 River Valley Birth Center in numbers

I hope the title of this post isn’t misleading. I promise I have no intention on lying to anyone. It just kept popping in my head as I worked on the statistics for 2017 at River Valley Birth Center because, honestly, numbers and statistics can be played with to say nearly whatever a person wants. Don’t like the results? Find new exclusions to give the statistics a new spin. That is why I will try to be very transparent in what exactly we counted or excluded.

2017 was a year of growth and growing pains for our practice. Our volume increased as did our staffing. We are still fine tuning these things as we move forward. It is so different from what it was like when there was just 1 midwife, but different can be amazing!

Some definitions to help understand our numbers:

  • AP transfers: These are women who transferred out of our care prenatally. This may have been due to a health complication or it may have been a choice a woman made for a different birth location or even a woman who moved during pregnancy. In a few cases, we never found out where the women transferred to or why they discontinued care with us.
  • Pre-admission transfers of care: These are women who were in our care at the time their labor started. They were not admitted to the birth center. Reasons for pre-admission transfers include things like: preterm labor, maternal choice for pain relief once contractions started, a precipitous labor (fast labor) in a woman who felt she didn’t have time to get to us, known non-vertex lie (breech baby), and/or a health issue reported to us on the phone that indicated a woman should go to the closest hospital rather than coming in to see us when labor began.
  • Post admission IP transfer of care: These are women who were admitted to the birth center (or home for planned homebirths) and were transferred to the hospital in the intrapartum time (in labor).
  • PP transfer of care: This is women who were admitted, birthed with us, and then were transferred to the hospital in the postpartum time.

All right, so let’s do the number crunching!

Prenatal information

  • 110- This is the number of women who were in our care in 2017 with 2017 due dates.
  • 4- This is the number of women with 2017 due dates who had babies in 2018 instead.
  • 16- AP transfers of care or miscarriages.

Women in our care at the start of labor

  • 90 women were in our care at the start of their labor
  • 12.22% (11)- pre-admission transfers of care. This number is a little higher than we anticipated, but with how far some women were driving to get care with us, it isn’t actually extremely surprising. At least 1/2 of these women lived more than 1 hour from the birth center.
  • 3.33%- Preterm birth rate for women in our care. 3 women called with labor prior to 37 weeks and were sent to their closest hospital to give birth. This is lower than the state average and lower than the national average. There are many factors at play with this number. We are caring for low-risk women, so those with heightened risk factors were transferred prenatally. We also do not care for pregnancies with twins, which have a higher rate of preterm birth than singleton pregnancies. However, we don’t wish to dismiss the power of midwifery care in helping to prevent preterm births because we serve a very high percentage of women who are on Medicaid, are uninsured, or are under insured, which are typically risk factors for preterm birth.
  • 4- The number of c-sections that we are aware of for women who were in our care at the start of labor, but not admitted to the birth center… reasons include: preterm birth with non-reassuring fetal heart tones, non-vertex presentation, and prolonged labor.

Women admitted to the birth center in labor

The following percentages will be based on the number of women who were admitted into our care in labor, so it will exclude the AP transfers of care and pre-admission transfers of care. This makes for the most accurate math of how often, once someone was admitted with an anticipated normal course of labor, birth, and postpartum, we had to pack up and head to a hospital for the birth.

  • 79- The number of women who were admitted into our care in labor
  • 11.39% (9)- After being admitted to the birth center in labor, we had to transfer to the hospital 9 times during labor. Some of the reasons we had to make that decision include: prolonged rupture of membranes, non-reassuring fetal heart tones, prolonged labor with the mother requesting a transfer to the hospital, malposition of the fetal head (meaning this baby wasn’t fitting easily through the pelvis because the silly kiddo decided to twist his/her head in a weird way), or a combination of these factors.
  • 88.61% (70)- The number of women who were admitted in labor and birthed at the birth center or at home with us, as planned.
  • 3.80% (3)- c-section rate for women who were admitted into our care in labor.

Postpartum transfers

Out of the 70 women who birthed with us, we had to go to the hospital 3 times (or 4.29%) in the postpartum time period. Typically this is due to problems with the placenta delivery. This year this number was much higher than we have experienced in years past, so it is likely a fluke rather than a trend.

Demographics of clients in 2017 at River Valley Birth Center

I love figuring out the demographics of our clients. It is fun to see how it changes year-to-year. Some demographics we won’t share as they may make some clients feel singled out if the percentage is extremely low in one area or another.

Of the 90 women in our care at the start of labor:

  • 80% were on Medicaid or MinnesotaCare insurance or were self-pay without insurance coverage.
  • 34.44% were expecting their first baby
  • 65.56% were expecting a 2nd, 3rd, 4th or higher birth order baby
  • 25.56% of the babies were 9lbs or larger at birth
  • 2.22% of the babies were considered low birth weight (they were preterm as well)
  • 72.22% of the babies were between 5lb 9oz and 9lb 0oz
  • 58.89% were baby boys (53 boys)
  • 41.11% were baby girls (37 girls)

The absolute least popular day of the week to be born was Wednesday (only 7.78% of the babies chose Wednesday as a birth day), followed by Friday with only 9 Friday births for the year. There was a pretty even spread on all the other days of the week! Mondays had 14 births and then Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday each accounted for 15 births on each of those days.

There were 10 days this past year in which we met 2 babies on the same calendar day and an additional 11 times that we met 2 babies within 24 hours of one another, but on different calendar days… just going to show that babies come whenever they want, regardless of their due dates and often they group up, for whatever reason. We don’t mind. We might as well keep the coffee pot hot and the laundry going.

We hope you have enjoyed this little statistical view into River Valley Birth Center for 2017 as much as we enjoyed figuring it out! If you and your baby were part of these stats, we just want to thank  you for letting us provide you with care this past year. It is such an honor and delight to provide midwifery care to such amazing people.




One Response to “Lies, damned lies, and statistics: A look at 2017 River Valley Birth Center in numbers”

  • Ellen / / Reply

    Hi. I’m one of the 90 ladies that were there for the whole time, and my sweet baby boy was born on a Tuesday, and he was born in one of the ten days where there was another baby, a girl if I remember correctly, born in the same day. So close in birth times that she was just being born when we got there and the amazing ladies didn’t even have time to have the bathtub ready for him to be born in. My mom and dad came from abroad to help me, and she cut the umbilical cord.
    Those and so much more wonderful, unforgettable memories of the whole journey we had with you. It was a healing, special experience for my whole family.
    We love you and we’ll be forever thankful for your tender loving care for us.
    Thank you so much for everything!

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