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Some of you are aware that, yes, we do have chickens at our Computer Drive office. That starts with the letter “C”, but this blog post isn’t about them.

Cesarean section starts with the letter “C”; let’s talk about that for a bit. I was compiling some data to share with an insurance company who has recently developed a product that doesn’t include WakeMed or Duke as an option for people who end up with that insurance plan. That limits your choice. That also starts with the letter “C”. Choice and cesarean section rates are both important when you are picking a practice, a hospital and your insurance plan.

Here is data on cesarean section rates from a healthcare monitoring group called Leapfrog. They were able to survey 1,380 hospitals on a variety of healthcare outcomes, including something called the NTSV C-section measure. This is the C-section rate that really matters. A nulliparous (first baby), term, singleton (twins don’t count), vertex (head down) C-section rate. They have it reported for most hospitals. Here is the data on our area hospitals:

NTSC C-Section Measure for Triangle Area Hospitals

  • WakeMed Raleigh 14.7% (that’s us!)
  • WakeMed Cary 31.2%
  • Rex 31.5%
  • UNC 24.3%
  • Duke 24.2%

The Leapfrog Group adopted the cesarean section target rate (23.9% proposed by’s 2020 initiative, which “seeks to improve the health and well-being of women, infants, children and families by the year 2020.” Duke and UNC are doing pretty well, and with a high risk population. 24% is right at this target rate. The other two hospitals in Wake County didn’t fare so well. As this is 2016 data, information on WakeMed North isn’t available.

WakeMed Raleigh Has Nationally Low Rates of C-Sections

What really stands out is our NTSV C-section rate at WakeMed Raleigh of 14.7%. It is spectacular! It is nationally spectacular. Consumer Reports has looked at C-section rates now three times. In collecting this same date on hospitals that deliver at least 2,000 babies a year, which resulted in information on over 1300 hospitals nationwide, WakeMed Raleigh was in the top 10 lowest C-section rate in each of the three times they looked. No other hospital in North Carolina can say that. We are very proud to be able to offer this low C-section rate to our patients.

It is not just us that creates this low rate. We are fortunate to be surrounded by great people. We are supported by amazing office and hospital staff. It takes a team to make this happen and we have a great team! This is where choice comes in. When insurance plans exclude WakeMed as an option for you, we can’t deliver you. We only go to WakeMed Raleigh. You will have to deliver at a hospital where your chance of a C-section is greater than twice that of what it is in our hands. This is something to consider when you choose your next insurance plan at enrollment time.

P.S. I will have to end on a chicken note. Don’t forget to check out our Kamm MckHenzie Koop Kam from time to time. Our little fluffy hen, Miss Frizzle, has gone broody on us and is sitting on a clutch of eggs 24/7. I have moved one of our Nest webcams in front of her for your viewing pleasure. With the gestation of a chicken being 21 days, assuming they’re fertile, hatch day should be LABOR Day, September 3rd. How perfect is that? -Dr. Smith


Leapfrog: Survey of Hospitals Performing C-Sections – NTSV C-Section Measure.

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