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From the TMC blog: What Do Mothers Need? Quality Maternity Care

The quality of maternity care in our country is poor. Childbirth costs more in the United States than in any other developed country, but our maternal and child health outcomes lag behind those of other countries. Too many babies are born at low birth weight. The rates of maternal mortality and prematurity are high. Disparities persist – especially for African American women and babies. And too many women receive unnecessary and unwanted interventions during labor that don’t result in better outcomes.

As Mother’s Day approaches, we renew our commitment to improving the quality of maternity care so women can enjoy safe, satisfying pregnancies and births, and babies can have a healthy start in life. We ask you to join us. We can all play a part in helping pregnant women and newborns get the high-quality care they deserve.

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Filed in Blog on Thu., May 8, 2014

From the TMC blog: Helping Pregnant Women Become Partners in Their Care

From the desk of: Maureen Corry

The quality of maternity care in our country needs improvement. While transforming the maternity care system will take time, there is progress to report.

In February, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) released a groundbreaking consensus statement on the overuse of cesarean. The statement confirms that the procedure is too often used in ways that do not improve maternal and child health outcomes.

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Filed in Blog, New Reports and Resources on Mon., Apr 14, 2014

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From the TMC blog: Overuse of c-sections: bad for women, babies, and the bottom line

Last month, Childbirth Connection issued Cesarean or Vaginal Birth: What Is At Stake for Mothers and Babies, a best evidence review cataloging dozens of adverse outcomes made more common by cesarean surgery. Maternal infections, prolonged pain, life-threatening complications, and childhood chronic illnesses – evidence demonstrates cesarean increases the likelihood of each of these. These risks are appropriate tradeoffs in some circumstances when cesarean offers a clear benefit. But a growing chorus of obstetric leaders and maternity care reformers are warning that the c-section rate is too high. For the benefit of public health – for the 4 million women who give birth every year and their 4 million babies – we must work to safely rein in the overuse of c-sections.

Today, we learn the extent to which c-section overuse is driving up health care costs, too. Together with Catalyst for Payment Reform and the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform, we have issued The Cost of Having a Baby in the United States, prepared by Truven Health Analytics.

What is at stake for payers? Not only do unwarranted c-sections create greater health risks for women and babies, this study shows that they also dramatically increase costs for employers and, through Medicaid programs, state and federal budgets.

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Filed in Blog, Costs - Charges - Value, New Reports and Resources on Mon., Jan 7, 2013

From the TMC blog: Sign-up Now for October 10 Webinar on New National Goals and Strategies to Reduce Early Elective Delivery and Cesarean Section in Low-Risk Women

Over the last nine months, the Maternity Action Team, comprised of nearly 30 public and private organizations, has set aspirational goals and worked on the development and implementation of a plan to reduce elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks to 5% or less and reduce cesarean section in low-risk women to 15% or less. This effort is focused on three key strategies: 1) Increasing uptake of The Joint Commission perinatal core measure set; 
2) Implementing hard-stop policies and checklists; and 
3) Aligning consumer and provider messaging.

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Filed in Blog, Webinars on Tue., Oct 2, 2012

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From the TMC blog: Innovation and Support for Midwifery: This Week and Always

Those familiar with Childbirth Connection may already know about our recent reports and resources that address midwifery care, like our evidence-based web site topic on Choosing a Caregiver, our Milbank Report on evidence-based maternity care calling out midwifery care as an underused intervention “suitable for routine use,” and our Transforming Maternity Care Blueprint for Action that calls for increased use of midwives and family practice physicians.

But did you know about our long history of innovation and support for midwifery, dating back 93 years to the dawn of professional midwifery in the United States?

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Filed in Blog, Childbirth Connection, Clinicians on Tue., Oct 4, 2011

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From the TMC blog: Maternity Care Improvement: Will it Play in Peoria?

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Will it play in Peoria?” It originated in the early ’20s and ’30s during the US vaudeville era, when Peoria, IL was a popular stop for vaudeville acts and performances. If a show was well received in Peoria, it was likely to work throughout the country. Peoria has since become a well-known test market to gauge the popularity of products and ideas nationwide.

So what does this have to do with maternity care? Well, in this case, what’s playing in Peoria goes way beyond products and ideas to a full-blown actionable healthcare quality improvement project called “Healthy Babies, Healthy Moms.”

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Filed in Blog, Clinicians, Consumers, Costs - Charges - Value, Hospitals and Health Systems, Quality Collaboratives on Wed., Sep 14, 2011

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From the TMC blog: Will Obstetricians Heed a Leader’s Warning to “Stop the Relentless Rise in Cesarean Deliveries?”

Kudos to Dr. John Queenan for his candid editorial “How to Stop the Relentless Rise in Cesarean Deliveries,” published in the August issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology. We applaud his candor as an obstetric leader willing to confront the serious problems associated with the steadily rising cesarean section rate now approaching 34%.

Dr. Queenan predicts that the significant increase in primary cesareans coupled with the sharp decrease in the VBAC rate will soon result in a 50% cesarean section rate in the U.S.

There’s no doubt that the relentless rise has been a source of anxiety for maternity care stakeholders for at least a decade as the rate has increased year after year. Women feel pressure to accept interventions including major surgery they’re not sure they’ll benefit from, driving a small but rapidly growing group of women to opt for home birth instead. Medicaid programs face severe financial constraints and are set to accept millions of new enrollees in 2014. Given the price tag, Medicaid simply can’t afford a 50% cesarean rate, nor even to sustain the current rate. Obstetricians are now seeing more and more patients with sometimes life-threatening consequences of too many c-sections at unprecedented rates. As Dr. Queenan warns, “the rising cesarean rate is a threat to the profession and there’s no time for complacency.” His editorial ends with a clarion call for concerted action by his profession to confront the problem and commit to action before policy-makers and payers step in and force change.

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Filed in Blog, Clinicians, Costs - Charges - Value, Hospitals and Health Systems, Leadership on Tue., Aug 2, 2011

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