Oklahoma health officials work to reduce cesarean sections

In the past year, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority has taken aim at how Oklahoma can improve its c-section rates. The March of Dimes reported that Oklahoma had the 14th highest total cesarean deliveries in the U.S.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: August 6, 2012
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It has been about 512 years since Jacob Nufer allegedly performed a cesarean section on his wife.

In 1500, the Swiss man performed what's thought to possibly be the first written record of a mother and child surviving a c-section, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

The procedure has been around for several centuries, and thanks to significant advances in medical technology, c-sections are known as relatively safe procedures.

But in the past few years, attention in Oklahoma has shifted to the medical community about whether c-sections that are performed are always medically necessary.

“I do know that a lot of women feel like they're pressured into having c-sections, and a lot of women feel like they're pressured into have inductions that they may not feel 100 percent ready for, and it really comes down to — we as women have to ask questions,” said Kathryn Konrad, a co-leader at the Oklahoma BirthNetwork.

In the past year, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority has taken aim at how Oklahoma can improve its c-section rates.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which administers the state's Medicaid program, started the C-section Quality Initiative in 2011 in an attempt to ensure that best practices were being met for SoonerCare patients.

The March of Dimes reported that Oklahoma had the 14th highest total cesarean deliveries in the U.S.

Oklahoma County had an average c-section rate of 32 percent from 2006 to 2009, according to the March of Dimes data. Tulsa County had a rate of 31.6 percent. The rural counties of Oklahoma overall had the highest c-section rates.

In 2011, the organization ranked Oklahoma with a D in its Premature Birth Report Card. One of the reasons the state scored so poorly was because of its late preterm birth rates. “The rise in late-preterm births (34-36 weeks) has been linked to rising rates of early induction of labor and c-sections.”

Over the past two decades, the c-section rate has steadily increased without corresponding data to show improvements in maternal and neonatal outcomes, according to the health care authority.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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