(HealthDay)—There are large differences in the numbers of unnecessary cesarean section births performed across hospitals in the United States, according to a new study.
Researchers looked at C-section rates for low-risk deliveries at more than 1,500 hospitals in 22 states and found wide variations, even between hospitals in the same communities or areas, Consumer Reports said. For example, the rate of C-sections for low-risk deliveries was more than 50 percent at the Los Angeles Community Hospital, compared with 15 percent at the California Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles and 11 percent at the Western Medical Center Anaheim.
In El Paso, Texas, rates of C-sections for low-risk deliveries were 37 percent at the Sierra Medical Center and 15 percent at the University Medical Center of El Paso. In Denver, the rates were 20 percent at Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center and 8 percent at the Denver Health Medical Center, according to Consumer Reports. The researchers also found that it can be hard to find information about hospitals' C-section rates.
"We think it's time those hidden numbers are brought to light," John Santa, M.D., medical director of Consumer Reports Health, said in news release from the group. "How you deliver your baby should be determined by the safest delivery method, not which hospital you choose."
Explore further: Obstetric care may differ at rural versus urban hospitals
Health Highlights: May 8, 2014