TOPPENISH, Wash. -- Delivering a baby by cesarian section is a serious medical procedure. Most doctors discourage it when not medically necessary. Consumer Reports looked at C-section rates for low-risk deliveries at 54 Washington hospitals. Hospitals in Sunnyside, Toppenish and Yakima were among the best in the state. KIMA spoke with one local mother who recently had her baby in a hospital that scored high marks in the study.
Baby Noah came into the world five weeks ago at Toppenish Community Hospital. His mother, Maria Luna, gave birth naturally.
"Just to go through that whole experience, to me, it's beautiful," she said.
Maria avoided a C-section because she said it wasn't necessary. Natural labor meant a lot of pain, but Maria didn't mind.
"The pain is going to be there, but once the baby comes out, the pain subsides immensely."
According to Consumer Reports, Toppenish is among four hospitals in Washington to get its highest mark for avoiding elective C-sections. Two other Valley hospitals topped the list: Sunnyside Community Hospital and Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Gayle Matthews is an ob-gyn at Toppenish. She says C-sections can be warranted in some cases: when a woman's contractions aren't strong enough or when her baby is in the wrong position or too big to fit through her pelvis.
But, they're the exception at Toppenish.
"We all believe that a C-section is the alternative delivery," said Matthews.
She says that's because C-sections require surgery.
"There are major risks of going to the OR: bleeding, infection, damage to other internal organs that we didn't intent to touch, a bad reaction to anesthesia of any kind. And, these are all things that can happen during surgery."
All reasons why Maria elected not to go under the knife.
"Natural birth is always best," she said.
A preferred pain to the risk of surgery.
The rates were calculated using hospital billing records from Washington state. Consumer Reports says they do not include information on certain factors that may increase the risk of a C-section, such as heart problems in the mother or fetus, pregnancy-related high blood pressure, obesity or other chronic diseases.
To read the full list of hospitals from Consumer Reports, click here.