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For release: June 7, 2013

Jim Armstrong 330.344.6083,
Amy Kilgore 330.344.6014,

Akron General Improves Care by Reducing First Cesarean Birth Rates
Action Follows National Clinical Organizations’ Recommendations

Adopting new practice recommendations developed by several leading national obstetrics organizations aimed at reducing the number of first pregnancy cesarean deliveries, the Akron General Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has effectively reduced its rate of primary cesarean delivery 25 percent since January 1, 2013. The change has lead to fewer complications and shorter hospital stays.

Cesarean delivery is currently the most common surgical procedure in the United States and accounts for almost one in three births. In December 2012, the National Institutes of Health, the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists held a national conference to examine this issue. That meeting concluded that “first cesareans” i.e., cesarean delivery in mothers who had never undergone a cesarean delivery were the leading factor causing the increase in cesarean delivery rates. The conference issued recommendations for induction of labor and performing cesarean delivery during labor.

The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Akron General adopted the guidelines effective January 1, 2013. The results have been dramatic. To date, there has been a 25 percent decline in the primary cesarean delivery rate at Akron General. This means that with the use of the new protocols, approximately 135 women who would have undergone cesarean delivery utilizing the older clinical practice will be able to labor and successfully be delivered vaginally this year. Since cesarean delivery is related to increased neonatal morbidity and substantially high maternal complication rates in future pregnancies, this is a substantially better health outcome for these moms and their babies. It also markedly decreases health care costs preventing the need to use the operating room and decreasing the length of the women’s postpartum stay by approximately a day.

“These recommendations point to the need for providing women more education regarding the benefits of a normal labor course and the implications of first cesarean delivery,” said Justin P. Lavin, Jr., MD, Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Akron General Health System. “This is also a wake-up call to providers to avoid practices that have the potential to lead to unnecessary first cesarean deliveries.”

The new recommendations were published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, Vol., 120, No. 5, November 2012; Preventing the First Cesarean Delivery, P. 1181.

About Akron General Health System
Akron General Health System is a not-for-profit health care organization with the mission of improving the health and lives of the people and communities it serves. Akron General Health System includes: Akron General Medical Center, a 532-registered-bed teaching and research medical center, and Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Institute, the area’s largest provider of rehabilitation services; Akron General Partners, which includes Partners Physician Group, the Akron General Health & Wellness Centers, Lodi Community Hospital, Community Health Centers and other companies; Akron General Community Health Ventures, which includes Visiting Nurse Service and Affiliates, the largest and most comprehensive provider of home healthcare services in Ohio; and Akron General Foundation. Recently, U.S. News & World Report ranked Akron General Medical Center as the seventh best hospital in Ohio. In 2013, the American Nurses Association bestowed the prestigious “Magnet” status on the more that 1,000 nurses from Akron General Medical Center, Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Institute and the Health System’s Health & Wellness Centers. For more information about Akron General Health System, visit

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