Know the Facts-Chattanooga C-Section Rates

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Today a friend told me about some research he has done on Chattanooga’s area hospitals.  I’ve tried looking for this information myself.  I think I do a decent job of internet research, but he is much better.  This information is public knowledge if you know where to look.

As of the summer 2008, Chattanooga has above average c-section rates at the three local hospitals.

Erlanger Downtown (Baroness Campus)—39% cesarean rate

Parkridge East—36% cesarean rate

Erlanger Women’s East—35% cesarean rate

National Average—31.8% as of 2007

WHO states that the average should be between 10-15%.

According to a USA today article, from March 2010, New Jersey has an average c-section rate of 38%, this is the worst state average.  However, if you see the stats above, Erlanger Downtown at 39%  is surpassing even the worst state in the U.S. on averages. (

And people think I’m brave for having a home birth.  It also makes me laugh at the recent Blush magazine article where a local doctor never once stated the risks of c-sections in hospital births, yet stated that women and babies were five times more likely to die in a home birth setting vs. a hospital setting.  Check out the article…page 55,  How likely are women to have complications and even die after a c-section?

My researching friend has plans to find out the c-section rates of all TN hospitals.  It may take some time, but hopefully he will have more information in the future for women to make an informed decsion on their choice of birth location.  Also, with this information, maybe we as women and men, can question, why?  Why are these rates so high?  What are you doing to lower that risk?  Is constant fetal monitoring really improving the rates of cerebral palsy (the answer is no, if you didn’t know already, research it.) ?  Are women really incapable of birthing their babies now?  Are you being told by your care provider at 20 weeks that they think that you will have to have a c-section because your mother did, because your hips are to small, your pelvis will never fit a 9 lb baby, your labor may be longer than 6 hours?  Is your care provider telling you at 30 weeks that you will have a very large baby and they will need to induce you at 37-38 weeks?  Are you told by a nurse practitioner that in Chattanooga (or wherever you live) that babies don’t come when God decides?—Happened to me.  🙂

There are very valid reasons to have a c-section.  Placenta previa, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), and a few other health issues.  However, by my own personal opinion, I think that sometimes the preeclampsia card is pulled prematurely.  When I read about women that are told that they might need to be induced in a week because the doctor thinks that they might be preeclamptic, that tells me that maybe the woman may not be in as much danger.  If you are spilling a little bit of protein in your urine, let’s think about whether you are properly hydrated. If your blood pressure will not go down despite various efforts by your care provider and you continue to spill protein in your urine, then I would hope that you doctor is taking immediate action and getting the baby out either through induction first and c-section second.  However, with preeclampsia, I also wish that women were educated more about the importance of nutrition and protein intake during pregnancy.  Nutrition can really help, and it is not preached enough to Americans.

Anyway, know the facts.  If you don’t know the stats on your local hospital, look it up.  Contact the local health department, ask questions.  Become informed.


7 thoughts on “Know the Facts-Chattanooga C-Section Rates

    kmiller246 said:
    April 7, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Really great post with lots of good thoughts and information. Do you mind if I share it? And a big thanks to your friend for compiling the research!

    Lisa said:
    April 8, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    As a home birther and a Bradley Method instructor, I thank you for posting this info. I’d be interested in if your friend could find Hutcheson’s rate because they would not tell me a number. (Just that it was “about the national average.”)

      lahancock responded:
      April 8, 2010 at 4:40 pm

      I’ll find out if he knows how to find Hutcheson’s rate. He was going to focus on TN, but he may know the GA system too.

    Robin said:
    April 8, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Those are the exact reasons I insisted on having a midwife and not an OB. I didn’t want to be at the mercy of my doctor’s vacation schedule or unwillingness to let me labor on my body’s schedule.

    My daughter was born at Women’s East in Chattanooga. I had a midwife and my labor was 18.5 hours. There was room for improvement. For example, when I started getting the urge to push in the tub, I was whisked out immediately and rushed to my room. That, of course, caused my labor to stall.

    When I got pregnant with my son, I did a bunch of research and found there was only one birthing center anywhere near Chattanooga. It was near Athens, but I figured since my daughter’s labor was so long, I’d have time to make it there.

    I was impressed by the pre-natal care and the follow-up care. I can’t give an opinion on the labor care because my son came in only 3:15. He was born on my father-in-law’s bed. The home care was great as well. (A nurse visited our home to check on both the baby and me and to make sure breastfeeding was working successfully.)

    The website for the center is

      lahancock responded:
      April 8, 2010 at 8:16 pm

      There are some other great home birth midwives in the area. My midwife is at However, for a lot of women, they don’t feel comfortable with a home birth. Women should have options and they shouldn’t feel like their only choice is to have a home birth.

        Lisa said:
        April 8, 2010 at 10:09 pm

        I have heard wonderful things about Carolyn. I have personal experience with Michelle Ray and Debi Church and will attest that both at FANTASTIC as well.

    Patty said:
    April 11, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    I recently read the Blush article and was so disappointed! I would be interested to see where he received his “facts”. Having had a wonderful experience during a home birth myself (with Carolyn Drake), his viewpoint further solidified my decision. Women should have choices.

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