good news from penny simkin

i wanted to pass on some good news from the fabulous penny simkin. please visit her site and read her books if you’re looking for more insight and wisdom on childbirth. here’s some great news on birth statistics in the US in 2010.

Good News in Maternity Care 

We’ve been getting some good news lately, which might mean we’re seeing the beginnings of a different direction in maternity care, for example, some tiny and some large improvements in a few key outcomes. For example, for the first time in 14 years, the cesarean rate in the US went down a tiny bit – from 32.9% in 2009 to 32.8% in 2010. Could this be the beginning of a trend? This tiny .1 percent (one 1000th) reduction is more significant when we recognize that the relentless upward swing has paused. If the annual rate of increase that we’ve seen over the past 14 years had continued in 2010, we’d see a rate between 33.5 to 34%, rather than 32.8%. That’s worth celebrating! (Unfortunately, the cesarean rate in my state of Washington increased.) I made some calculations of the numbers. One in a thousand is not much, until you consider that 1/1000 of the 4,000,000 births per year in the US represents 4000 fewer women who had a cesarean. It’s a start.


For the 4th straight year the US preterm birth rate has decreased from 12.8% in 2006 to 12.2 % in 2009, with most of the improvement coming in the late pre-term (34 to 36 weeks’ gestation) births. The March of Dimes gets a lot of credit for this, having made preterm birth reduction the major focus of its work. (The March of Dimes granted me a full scholarship for my Physical Therapy Training in 1959-60, when their goal was an end to polio. Once that goal was achieved, they turned to pregnancy related issues. I am proud of that connection with the March of Dimes, and the fact that our paths have converged as they have.)


Also, teen pregnancies have dropped to the lowest rate (9.3% in 2010 from 10% in 2009) in 70 years!


Let’s work for greater improvements in these and in other outcomes next year!


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