UC San Diego Health recognized as top maternity hospital

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UC San Diego Health is recognized as a 2023-2024 High Performing Hospital for Maternity Care, which is the highest award a hospital can earn by U.S. News & World Report for obstetric and infant care.

To be recognized as High Performing in Maternity Care, hospitals must meet high standards in caring for patients with uncomplicated pregnancies, such as low cesarean section rates, low newborn complication rates, offering transparency on racial and ethnic disparities, and other measures.

It is an honor to receive this prominent recognition, and I'm extremely proud of our dedicated, multidisciplinary teams that made it possible. Having a baby is a profound, life-changing experience and we are honored when families choose UC San Diego Health to be part of their special moment. We are committed to the patients we serve from conception to childbirth and postpartum."

Patty Maysent, CEO of UC San Diego Health

U.S. News & World Report evaluated 680 hospitals from across the nation that provide labor and delivery services and submitted detailed data to the publication for analysis. Fewer than half of all hospitals that offer maternity care and participated in the survey received a High Performing designation.

The annual evaluation is designed to assist expectant parents, in consultation with their prenatal care team, in making informed decisions about where to receive obstetric and infant care that best meets their family's needs.

UC San Diego Health, the region's only academic medical center, also ranked among the top 20 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for obstetrics and gynecology care.

"We are combining research with clinical care to offer our patients the most advanced treatment with a focus on optimizing equitable pregnancy outcomes," said Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, MD, chair for the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and perinatologist at UC San Diego Health.

"We bring a depth of expertise and are shaping national guidelines that will help improve outcomes for future patients and their growing families."

The U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals for Maternity Care methodology is based entirely on objective measures of quality, such as C-section rates in lower-risk pregnancies, newborn complication rates, exclusive breast milk feeding rates, early elective delivery rates, birthing-friendly practices and transparency on racial/ethnic disparities, among other measures.

These quality outcomes reflect the highest standards of care, including having the highest rate of VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean section) in San Diego County and one of the lowest episiotomy rates -; less than 5% -; in California.

Additionally, UC San Diego Health is recognized on the C-Section Honor Roll by California Hospital Care Compare for meeting statewide targets for reducing C-sections in low-risk, first-time mothers.

The health system also offers a free volunteer doula program and is nationally recognized for breastfeeding support.

"More than 85% of the babies born at UC San Diego Health are exclusively breastfed during their hospital stay, which is well over the regional average of 57%," said Eustratia Hubbard, MD, medical director of newborn services at UC San Diego Health. "This incredible rate is a direct reflection of the support and care our dedicated teams provide to each patient, each day."

Approximately 5,000 babies are born at UC San Diego Health every year.

With two distinct birthing locations and a large staff of physicians and midwives, as well as high-risk specialists and technology, UC San Diego Health gives patients more childbirth options than anywhere else in San Diego.

The Birth Center at Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla offers a more holistic approach, or patients have the option of traditional labor and delivery settings available at both Jacobs Medical Center and UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest.

Both hospitals have a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), including a Level III NICU at Jacobs Medical Center and a Level II Intermediate NICU at UC San Diego Medical Center.

"With each pregnancy journey, our patients and providers are on a path together as a team," said Gyamfi-Bannerman. "We want our patients to feel empowered to actively participate in their care and advocate for themselves knowing that their care team is listening and working together with a unified goal of ensuring every parent and baby is healthy and given the absolute very best start at life.

"It is a privilege to serve our San Diego community, and this recognition by U.S. News & World Report is a direct reflection of the dedication, commitment, compassion and world-class care that our teams provide to our patients and their families each day."

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