Addressing the world’s most common and consequential surgical error: the decision to perform a C-section

Although most babies can be born naturally with a vaginal delivery, for some babies surgical intervention with a C-section is lifesaving. The challenge is that modern health systems seldom make the delivery decision accurately.

Over the last generation, C-section rates have skyrocketed everywhere. Currently, one out of every four mothers in the world will undergo major surgery to deliver her baby–tens of millions more than medically necessary.  The consequences include immediate surgical complications that could have been avoided as well as long-term and potentially catastrophic risks for future pregnancies caused by uterine scarring.

Despite growing alarm, improving the accuracy of delivery decisions has appeared intractable. The Delivery Decisions Initiative is a bold effort by leading maternal health and system innovation experts to tackle this challenge in new ways.

Engineering Solutions