Keeping mothers informed may reduce C-sections

It may be possible to reduce unnecessary cesarean sections by using a tool as simple as a white board in labor and delivery rooms.

A June 5, 2019 New York Times article outlined efforts to curb the high rate of C-sections—which currently account for 32% of live births—and highlighted the work of Neel Shah. A research associate in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Shah directs Ariadne Labs’ Team Birth Project, which is studying the use of white boards in labor and delivery rooms that list the name of every person on the labor and delivery team, the mother’s birthing preferences, and the current status of the birth. The goal is to keep everyone informed and help ensure that the mother’s wishes are respected.

Shah said that early indicators suggest that improved communication may help reduce unnecessary C-sections, which carry a risk of serious complications including infection, hemorrhage, and death.

Women have goals in labor other than coming out unscathed. Survival, and not being cut open, should be the floor,” Shah told the Times.

Read the New York Times article: One Hospital’s Plan to Reduce C-sections: Communicate

Learn more

How labor ward culture can increase C-sections (Harvard Chan School news)

The surprising factor behind a spike in C-sections (Harvard Chan School podcast)