Good News for Women and Babies: New Toolkit Aims to Help Providers and Hospitals Support Vaginal Birth and Reduce Number of Unnecessary Cesareans

by | May 18, 2016 | Maternal Health

On the heels of last month’s Cesarean Awareness Month, there has been robust public discussion about how to reduce the high cesarean birth rate in the United States. The National Partnership for Women & Families’ Childbirth Connection program is pleased to be part of a multi-stakeholder partnership working to do just that: The California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC) recently released the comprehensive, evidence-based Toolkit to Support Vaginal Birth and Reduce Primary Cesareans for maternity providers and hospitals.

Unnecessary cesareans among low-risk women during first pregnancy has fueled the recent rise in cesarean rates. It may very well be the single largest reason women are not receiving the high-value, high-quality maternity care they need and deserve. To stop this trend, maternity care providers need actionable strategies and tools like those found in the CMQCC Toolkit at their fingertips.

The Toolkit, funded by the California Health Care Foundation, includes information on improving the culture of care, awareness and education for cesarean reduction; supporting intended vaginal birth; managing labor abnormalities and safely reducing cesarean births; and using data to drive cesarean reduction. It suggests ways to actively engage women in their maternity care, such as by encouraging them to develop a birth preferences plan to guide decision-making and inform their care team and by enhancing communication between women and providers through shared decision-making at critical points in care. It also offers dozens of resources and tools from Childbirth Connection and other maternity care experts from around the country.

Serving as a member of the task force and writing group for the Toolkit was a wonderful experience, and I am confident the toolkit will help propel widespread efforts in California and beyond to reduce unnecessary cesarean births and improve the quality, outcomes and value of maternity care. This is very good news for women and babies!

Download the full toolkit at