Unlike in emergency situations, mothers and fathers have time - a solid nine months - to choose which hospital they want to use for childbirth.
Erica Mobley, spokeswoman for the Leapfrog Group, says expectant parents should do their research - and her group can help. Each year, the non-profit watchdog releases a report examining the safety and quality of maternity care at hospitals across the country.
She spoke on AirTalk with Larry Mantle on Monday about the report, which looks closely at three indicators of maternity care at hospitals:
- Rate of early elective deliveries. This measures how many women are giving birth before 39 weeks of gestation, without medical need. Some choose artificial induction, others a scheduled C-section. These early elective deliveries can result in neonatal care unit admissions, longer hospital stays and higher costs, according to the report
- Episiotomy rates. An episiotomy is an incision made in the birth canal during childbirth. This process has been linked to health complications for the mother and increased delivery costs, according to the report.
- High-risk delivery standards. This measures whether a hospital is equipped to handle babies born weighing less than 3 pounds, 4.91 ounces.
The report also details states' performances on the indicators.
Some good news for California: its rate of early elected deliveries has dropped dramatically since 2010, from 15 percent to just 2 percent in 2014.