MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The number of C-sections doctors are performing on pregnant women is on the rise across the country and right here in South Carolina. On Thursday, local doctors and nurses at Grand Strand Medical Center are getting a hands on lesson on how to minimize the growing number of procedures.
Professionals from Palmetto Health in Columbia are on site with a mobile simulation lab to provide very realistic training. This lab is the first of its kind in the state of South Carolina, and Myrtle Beach is its second stop on it tour across the state. Doctors and nurses will get specialized training until 5:30 p.m. Thursday on how to better handle emergency C-sections and promote vaginal births.
C-sections come with risks since they are major surgery. A mother can have blood clots or infections as a result. Doctors say choosing to have a C-section should never be taken lightly.
"We're trying to increase the number of vaginal births that we allow to parents. And decrease the potential harm, the potential poor outcomes that can happen with C-sections," says Dr. Sally Deskins, Grand Strand Medical Director of Obstetrics.
There's a national push right now to try and minimize the number of C-section births. The national rate stands at about 30 percent. But in South Carolina, nearly 35 percent of births in 2013 were C-sections, according to DHEC. So doctors at Grand Strand tell WMBF that Thursday's training is to help reduce the number of unnecessary C-sections.
One reason why doctors at Grand Strand Medical Center believe C-sections are on the rise is because of new requirements creating a lot of pressure to deliver a healthy baby. Also, doctors say babies in the U.S. tend to be larger, which sometimes makes vaginal births difficult. And once you've had a C-section, many hospitals don't allow you to have a vaginal birth after that. Grand Strand Medical will allow it, as long as the expecting mother does not have any pre-existing risk factors.
A mother preparing to give birth has so much to think and worry about, and doctors here at Grand Strand want to make sure they're providing the best care and advice so she is in control of her birth. Right now, our local doctors are pushing to give women the freedom to choose a vaginal birth before opting for a C-section.
"Throughout the pregnancy process, we're discussing what affects her success rate for having a vaginal birth," says Dr. Tracey Golden, Grand Strand Medical Center. "So that conversation is initiated right at the beginning of pregnancy. And then ongoing based on the variables that can increase her risk factors for C-section."
Inside the mobile simulation lab there are many different emergency situations they can simulate to help train medical professionals. Doctors tell WMBF News that this training is so important because it's building on programs they already have at Grand Strand. And it's all in an effort to maximize the hospital's care for both mom and baby.
"In any high risk industry, like the airplane industry or nuclear power plants, it's been well established through evidence-based practices that practicing these drills for emergency situations will strengthen the team and help people be more comfortable with what their responsibilities are in any emergency scenario," says Golden.
The simulation training last about 90 minutes for each session. The training will continue until 5:30 p.m. Thursday and then the mobile lab will travel back to Columbia.