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Knowledge Is Power

Doula Digest – Naomi Starsiak

Before buying a new car you would do research, find out mileage and safety features. Before you get a new refrigerator there’s a sticker right on the front that tells you how much energy it uses. When it’s time to have a baby you just go to whatever hospital is closest. Hmm… that doesn’t sound right.

Researching hospital statistics can be a bit daunting, but taking the time to do this can help you prepare when you’re thinking about how you want to labor and give birth.

The New York State Department of Health has this information on its website, and there’s even a compare function, but I’m going to hit the highlights for you. It’s important to note that the stats are from the reporting year of 2016, so if you want newer information you’ll have to call the individual hospital.

Utica – St. Luke’s: C-Section rate is 41.7%, Augmented Labor (using medicine to speed up or slow down) rate is 13.9%, and 71.3% of moms did some form of breastfeeding.

Rome – Memorial: C-Section rate is 27.4%, Augmented Labor rate is 30.5%, and 74.5% of moms did breastfeeding.

Oneida – Healthcare: C-Section rate is 32.8%, Augmented Labor rate is 10.4%, and 78.7% of moms did breastfeeding.

Things to note, Utica had 20 cases of VBAC (vaginal birth after a cesarean). Rome has Licensed Midwives and they delivered 29.9% of the babies. Oneida has a high – 57.4% – rate of Induction by Artificial Rupture of Membranes.

If you want to look at all the statistics for these hospitals you can find them online at:

Utica –

Rome –

Oneida –

Or any other hospital in New York at –

The best way to let hospitals know what you want is to use your money (or your insurance carriers money) and actually tell them, “I picked this hospital because it had the lowest induction rate” or “the lowest C-Section rate”. The only way we can change birth options in central New York is to speak up.

Naomi Starsiak is a birth and postpartum doula, a placenta encapsulator, a natural birth consultant, and the co-owner of A Peaceful Birth doula & childbirth service. You can find her on Facebook at

Have a question? E-mail it to Naomi at


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