US News & World Report names top hospitals for maternity services
More than 2,700 hospitals across the country offer maternity services, but only 237 were named to the U.S. News & World Report new list of the Best Hospitals for Maternity.
“All families deserve to be informed on how hospitals perform on key indicators of quality, which is why U.S. News has compiled and published a trove of maternal health data from hospitals across the country,” Ben Harder, managing editor and chief of health analysis at U.S. News & World Report, said in a press release.
“Now, hundreds of hospital profiles on usnews.com feature relevant, targeted information for parents-to-be to use during their search to find, in consultation with their health care provider, the best local hospital for an uncomplicated pregnancy,” Harder said.
The researchers at U.S. News only looked at data related to uncomplicated pregnancies, not high-risk pregnancies, in five different factors: scheduled early deliveries, cesarean section rates in low-risk women, newborn complications, rates of exclusive breastmilk feeding and options for vaginal births after cesarean births (VBACs). Based on this data, U.S. News determined which hospitals were high performing in maternity care and named them to its list without ranking them against each other.
The hospitals that were named high performers in maternity care had on average 21.1% nulliparous, term, singleton, vertex cesarean section rates, 1.3% early elective delivery rates, 2.38% overall unexpected newborn complication rates and 58.6% exclusive breast milk feeding rates. Also, 92.4% of them offer routine VBACs.
U.S. News also examined services and amenities, including private rooms, valet parking and child birthing classes. Hospitals submitted data from 2019 to participate in the survey, and no fee was required to be evaluated.
The Northwestern system
Northwestern Medicine’s flagship Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, home to the standalone Prentice Women’s Hospital, was named to the list.
“We deliver about 12,000 babies per year, making Prentice the largest maternity hospital in the Midwest and one of the largest in the country,” Serdar E. Bulun, MD, obstetrician and gynecologist in chief at Prentice Women’s Hospital, told Healio.
Established in 1975, Prentice is a major teaching hospital with the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. It collaborates with Northwestern’s Kishwaukee and Lake Forest hospitals in DeKalb and Lake Forest, Illinois, respectively, which also were named to the list, to optimize preventive care.
“We have an obstetric collaborative between all these hospitals so deliveries go smoothly with the least number of complications from the beginning,” said Bulun, who also is chair of obstetrics and gynecology for all of Northwestern Medicine.
Programs screen mothers for diabetes, hypertension and preeclampsia. Northwestern’s hospitals also share resource programs and work together in developing standards of care. In 2018, clinicians in the system published a protocol for optimizing induced delivery times as well.
“We also have a new program that is very comprehensive and supported both by the hospitals and many of our donors to make sure we do everything we can so as many babies are breastfed as possible because of the short-term and long-term advantages of breastfeeding for both the mother and the baby,” said Bulun.
And while Bulun said all the doctors at these hospitals are wonderful individuals, he specifically mentioned Emily S. Miller, MD, MPH, chief of obstetrics at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, for her contributions, including a program that began screening mothers for peripartum mood disorders so they could be diagnosed and treated early if not outright prevented.
“She is a leader who formulated these protocols with her colleagues at all of our hospitals,” Bulun said.
Mount Sinai’s Morningside and West hospitals in New York City, both affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, were named to the list. Mount Sinai West not only cares for low-risk pregnancies, but also offers subspecialty care for high-risk pregnancies. Both facilities report that they collaborate to ensure continuity of care.
“Mount Sinai West has a strong culture of supporting families who want to have a low-intervention birth. We use a shared decision-making model and are able to support patients who want fewer interventions, alternative pain control and more mobility during their childbirth,” Holly C. Loudon, MD, MPH, chair of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at Mount Sinai Morningside and West, told Healio.
“We offer vaginal birth after cesarean for all patients who can do so safely. This has helped us to keep our cesarean section rates low and our VBAC rates high. In addition, Mount Sinai West supports breastfeeding with our lactation consultants and highly skilled nursing staff. We have also put in measures to eliminate early elective deliveries,” said Loudon, who also is an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
The BirthPlace at the UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center, which also made the list, offers a variety of services including the Nurse Midwives Program, 24-hour laborists and obstetrical anesthesia, a neonatal intensive care unit and high-risk pregnancy care. Antepartum care also is available for pregnant women expecting twins or triplets. Additionally, the Perinatal Testing Unit offers antepartum diagnostic services including biophysical profiles and amniocentesis.
“We are so proud of the efforts of our doctors, nurses, midwives and lactation consultants, all of whom have made possible the recognition of UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center as a top provider of maternity care,” Deborah Krakow, MD, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at UCLA Health, told Healio.
“It is through collaborations with patients and our providers that we’ve been able to achieve a low cesarian section rate, high breastfeeding rate and, most importantly, provide our patients with a supportive birthing experience. Our strength lies in our people who care for low-risk and high-risk patients alike to achieve optimal outcome for mother and baby,” said Krakow, who also is a professor of orthopedic surgery and human genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
At the University of Michigan Health Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, which U.S. News chose as well, patients can take part in the Michigan Plan for Appropriate, Tailored Healthcare in Pregnancy, which offers options for medical care, education and support. The hospital also provides virtual visits with home devices, online and other social support and resources as well as opportunities to participate in research. Plus, the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Division manages high-risk patients from preconception to postpartum.
“We are honored to care for thousands of pregnant patients and families who choose University of Michigan Health Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital for maternity care every year,” Luanne Thomas Ewald, MHA, FACHE, chief operating officer of Von Voigtlander and University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, said in a press release.
“This recognition highlights our extraordinary teams of maternal health physicians, nurses and staff who are passionate about providing exceptional care for pregnant individuals and their newborns,” Dee Fenner, MD, chair of the Michigan Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said in the press release. “Our teams have worked hard to promote flexible and inclusive birthing options with an emphasis on safety and evidence-based care.”
- Best Hospitals for Maternity Final Methodology 2021. https://health.usnews.com/media/best-hospitals/Best_Hospitals_for_Maternity_Final_Methodology_2021. Published Nov. 30, 2021. Accessed Dec. 6, 2021.
- U-M Health Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital Earns U.S. News & World Report 2021-22 Best Hospitals for Maternity. Published Dec. 7, 2021. Accessed Dec. 7, 2021.