Low C-Section Rate at Mason Health Birth Center Indicates High-Quality, Safe Care

Submitted by Mason Health

More and more mothers are choosing to give birth at Mason General Hospital, in the care of providers Dr. Andrea Martin, MD, and Dr. Carey Martens, DO, because they know they will receive high-quality, compassionate and individualized care. Over the past few years, rates of Cesarean section surgeries at the Birth Center at Mason General Hospital has continued to drop, as recommended by national standards. This is a positive indicator of the quality of care that patients receive at Mason Health.

In 2019, only 22.67 percent of births at Mason General Hospital were C-sections, compared to 27.45 percent in 2018. The state and national rates for C-sections were 27.9 and 31.9 percent, respectively, in 2018, the most recent year the National Center for Health Statistics collected data. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that hospitals nationwide reduce C-section rates to 24.7 percent because surgery can raise health risks for the mother.

“We are ahead of the curve. What this has shown us is, it’s not always better to go to a bigger hospital,” said Dr. Martens. “Sometimes the level of care at a smaller hospital is exactly what a patient wants; they just don’t know it’s available here. Many women come to us and say, ‘I do not want a C-section.’ Well, we don’t want that either unless it is absolutely necessary.”

C-section births are often medically necessary to save the life of an infant and/or mother, and should be considered by providers when needed. The procedure is major surgery, so C-sections do raise the risk of complications, including infection, reaction to anesthesia and increased bleeding and injury. Patients also face longer recovery times, higher costs and an increased chance of needing a C-section in a later pregnancy. Risks rise with each C-section.

Still, mothers should not feel guilty or ashamed if they do need a C-section, said Dr. Martin.

“Cesareans save lives, so cesareans are recommended for that purpose,” she said. “While we do our best to lower the comorbidities that go along with them, they are one of the most valuable tools we have to save lives. We talk about all options with patients and we don’t force their hands. I think because we care, we are having optimal outcomes.”

From 2017 to 2019, the number of deliveries at Mason General Hospital has gone up 18 percent, which makes the low C-section rate that much more remarkable, said Dr. Martens. He attributes the low rate to the patience that he and Dr. Martin exhibit with mothers, as well as to the compassion and around-the-clock care that the Birth Center nursing staff has for patients.

“Our C-section numbers are improving while our overall numbers are increasing, which means we’re busier but we’re not sacrificing care; we’re continually improving,” Dr. Martens said. “Andrea and I make each patient a part of their labor, and the nurses give tremendous care. Our staffing allows us to have one nurse per one laboring patient. They work one-on-one from start to finish on their shift. That really helps the patient bond with us and trust the advice we give them.”

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Martens or Dr. Martin, call MGH Mountain View Women’s Health Clinic at 360-426-0955. Mountain View Women’s Health Clinic will be moving to Mason Clinic, adjacent to Mason General Hospital, later this year. Visit the Mason Health website for more information.

Mason Health, Public Hospital District No. 1 of Mason County, is certified by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and is a licensed and accredited acute care hospital with a level four emergency trauma designation. There are more than 100 physicians on staff in 19 specialties. Mason Health now offers 3D Mammography Services. For more information on 3D mammograms or to find a health care provider, visit the Mason Health website.

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