RVBC 2016 stats: The Year of the 0% C-Section Rate

What an amazing year 2016 has been!

Like many practices, we keep a close eye on our statistics and outcomes each and every year of practice. One of my favorite days is December 31st because I get to play with the statistics. What can I say? I was on a competitive mathematics team (yes, for fun) when I was growing up.

Since our overall practice is a small one, year-to-year stats can look very different depending on what happened that year. For this reason, I have broken down some of the stats by what happened in 2016 and then I follow that up with the statistics for what has happened in the practice since we received our license as a birth center in July 2014 for our lifetime statistics of the practice.

I should start with explaining that not every woman who books care with River Valley Birth Center ends up birthing with us. We offer prenatal care for women who are planning a hospital birth with a different practice, so they transfer out of our care in their 8th month. We also see miscarriages, family moves, health complications that require a referral to a different practice, insurance issues, and sometimes women simply change their mind about where they want to give birth and who they want to attend that birth. For all of these reasons, our statistics are based on the women who are admitted into our care in labor.

On to the 2016 stats for River Valley Birth Center!!

In 2016 we saw:

  • 90.74% of the women who were admitted to our care in labor birthed at home or at the birth center, as planned
  • 9.26% transferred care to a hospital after being admitted and none were considered urgent.
  • 0% of the babies were born with forceps or vaccums after transfer (we don’t do that at the birth center, either)
  • 1.85% of the babies born under our care in 2016 were transferred to the hospital within the first hours of life

Here is the biggie that still surprises us all: Of the women who were admitted to our care in labor, 0% had c-sections in 2016.

While we wish that we could take full credit for that c-section rate, the truth is that a number like that is a real multi-team effort. It means that in our non-urgent transports we transferred into our preferred practices whenever possible, even if that meant a longer car ride for a family. Our preferred practices for these non-urgent transports have reputations for being very open and kind to out-of-hospital transfers of care, work hard to have transparent communication, have great policies regarding transfers and written guidelines that make it easy for teams to work together, have fantastic staff, have low c-section rates, and work really hard to keep the interventions to the absolute minimum needed by each individual mom and baby. Each time a transfer of care in labor was needed, we carefully assessed the situation and decided what practice would be the best fit based on the specifics of that woman’s health and situation. Each client who needed a transfer of care made the final decision as to what location they would prefer based on our consultations and individual care plans. It always feels so amazing to work with a family utilizing true informed consent and shared decision making when we need to make a change in our original plans.


Now, we will share our lifetime statistics for River Valley Birth Center.

Some demographics on our clients:

  • 36.61% were expecting their first baby
  • 63.39% were expecting their second or more baby
  • 8.93% had a previous c-section


Birth by location/type

  • 19.64% of our births have been planned homebirths
  • 70.54% of our births have been in the birth center
  • 9.82% of our births have taken place in a hospital after a transfer of care in labor
  • 34.82% of our births have taken place in water
  • 8.04% of our births have been VBAC (vaginal birth after previous c-section)
  • 97.32% of our births have been vaginal births.

Which means…..

Since River Valley Birth Center opened, only 2.68% of our clients have needed to transfer to the hospital in labor and birth via c-section.


Obviously, c-sections are sometimes needed. At times, they are absolutely the safest way for a birth to occur. We are forever thankful when a needed c-section is done by a very skilled surgeon and mom and baby are safe and healthy. Our concern with c-sections is that if the woman wants future pregnancies, VBACs AND repeat c-sections carry greater risk than a repeat vaginal birth. To reduce risks in future pregnancies, we feel strongly we should reduce the c-section rate as much as possible and this means reducing the c-sections that are not medically indicated. Currently, the CDC reports that the c-section rate in the United States is 32.0%. Minnesota typically comes in lower than the national average and you can see the c-section rates by hospital at this link: http://www.cesareanrates.com/2015/01/minnesota-cesarean-rates.html


Want a few more fun stats?

  • 54.46% of our babies have been boys
  • 45.54% of our babies have been girls
  • 1.79% of our babies have been less than 6lbs
  • 16.07% of our babies have been over 9lbs
  • Average wait time in our waiting room is less than 5 minutes
  • Average appointment time (face-to-face with provider)= 40.71 minutes per visit
  • Amount of our hearts we give to each family when they walk through the doors= 100%

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