Yelp Wants to Tell You Where to Give Birth

We’ve all scanned Yelp when we’re trying to pick a restaurant or a hotel, but it probably hasn’t occurred to you to rely on the crowd-sourced review forum when it’s time to make the important decision of the best hospital to deliver a baby. But starting today, Yelp has added maternity care metrics — starting with hospitals that deliver babies in New York City and Long Island. But let’s be honest: Plenty of us barely trust Yelp reviews to tell us where to get a good hamburger; would you trust them to choose where you give birth?

This new Yelp development comes from a partnership with Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) and their hospital rating site ExpectNY. Unsurprisingly, childbirth is the number one reason for hospitalizations in America and the quality of hospitals varies dramatically.

“The hospital where a woman delivers her baby can be a strong predictor of outcomes for both the mother and baby,” Amy Sezak, Yelp’s Vice President of Public Relations and Communications, tells SheKnows. “Comparing statistics like C-section rates, VBAC rates, and others can allow expecting parents to make a more educated decision about the type of facility that best fits their childbirth preferences and birth plan.”

Sezak added that, by including maternity care metrics on Yelp hospital pages, the company hopes to both educate potential patients about the hospitals where they will receive high-quality care and to encourage hospitals to improve the quality of care provided.

This all sounds well and good, but let’s address the elephant in the room: Personally, I take all Yelp reviews with a grain of salt — and the biggest risk if I’m lead astray by high ratings is that I’ll overpay for a subpar meal or hotel room. This begs the question, will parents-to-be rely on Yelp hospital pages when they’re making a decision that could impact their health and the health of their child?

They may, but only if they’re aware of this important distinction: “The maternity care data for New York hospitals on Yelp is sourced from ExpectNY.com, which contains reported data publicly available at Health Data NY, and for low-risk C-sections, from Leapfrog,” Courtney Wilson-Myers, Director of Operations at NEBGH, tells SheKnows. “This data is completely separate from any reviews or other information that appears on Yelp.”

When making a decision about where to give birth, there’s a lot to take into account — and although we wouldn’t recommend solely relying on Yelp (or any individual entity, for that matter), it can’t hurt to scan the maternity care data gathered by the Northeast Business Group.

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