Labor Intensive

Credit KUOW Photo/Nick Danielson

Cesarean deliveries have increased over the last 15 years, in Seattle, and around the state—for no apparent medical reason. Now hospitals around the state are trying to bring those rates back down.

In a new series called "Labor Intensive,"  KUOW looks at what some hospitals are doing to cut down on excessive deliveries by C-section.

Read stories from the series and explore others about birth and parenting.

Labor Intensive
8:55 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Stories Of Courage From UW's Maternity Clinic

Janna Stombaugh is pregnant with twins. She had a kidney transplant 16 years ago.
KUOW Photo/Nick Danielson

The stories from the labor and delivery ward at UW Medical Center in Seattle are often told breathlessly.

A nurse tells of a pregnant woman who arrived at the hospital brain dead after being airlifted from Eastern Washington. She was kept alive as nurses pumped her breasts to feed her baby, who had been delivered by cesarean section.

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Labor Intensive
8:44 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Why Whidbey General Hospital Called The Midwife

Sarah Meyer (right), a midwife, was recently hired by Whidbey Island General Hospital, as part of a plan to reduce the hospital's C-section rate.
Credit Gary Taylor/Whidbey Island General Hospital

In Coupeville, Washington, Sarah Meyer is pressing a fetal Doppler on Christine Meyer’s belly to check the baby’s heart rate.

Meyer, no relation to Christine, then checks her ankles for swelling. Christine is 25, and this is her first baby. She says she chose Whidbey General because the hospital offers what she was looking for – a midwife.

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Labor Intensive
7:53 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Letting Washington Moms Labor Longer To Avoid C-Sections

Emily Cameron, left, her husband and their five children. Her first-born was delivered by C-section at 37 weeks, which she believes was unnecessary.
Credit Courtesy Emily Cameron

Public health officials across the U.S. say the number of cesarean sections being performed has gotten way out of hand. It's a life-saving surgery for complicated births, but today nearly a third of pregnancies end up as a C-section.

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Labor Intensive
7:53 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

MAP: How Washington Hospitals Rank In Terms Of C-Sections

Kelly delivered baby Colton at Valley Hospital and Medical Center in Spokane.
Credit Family photo

Dots denote hospitals; click for the C-section rate. Red dot = hospital where rate for low-risk moms exceeds 20 percent -- about what the World Health Organization recommended in a 2010 report. (KUOW/Kara McDermott)

It’s 7 p.m. on a Thursday at Valley Hospital and Medical Center in Spokane, and Dr. Nathan Meltzer has already had a very long day.

He has one mother in labor. She’s been there for more than 12 hours.

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