September 7, 2022

Florida Surgeon General, Joseph Ladapo, MD, PhD, Recognizes Rockledge Regional Medical Center for Ensuring the Safety of New Moms and Their Babies

The Florida Department of Health and the Agency for Health Care Administration Recognized Steward Family Birthplace at Rockledge Regional Medical Center for Low C-Section Rates, Among Lowest in the State

Rockledge, Florida (July 14, 2022) – On July 14, 2022, Florida’s Surgeon General, Joseph Ladapo, MD, PhD, recognized Rockledge Regional Medical Center, a Steward Family Hospital, as among the 26 Florida hospitals to achieve the lowest cesarean section (C-section) rates in the state as set by The Florida Department of Health and the Agency for Health Care Administration. This effort is part of the Healthy People 2030 initiative to reduce C-section deliveries for first-time mothers with low-risk pregnancies. The goal set by the Florida Department of Health and Agency for Health Care Administration, for all maternity hospitals, was to achieve 23.6 percent or below C-section rates in 2020. Steward Family Birthplace at Rockledge Medical Center is extremely proud to achieve a low rate of 16.3%.

“Safety is always our priority,” states Nefertari D. Esemuede, MD, an obstetrician with The Family Birthplace at Rockledge Regional Medical Center. “Our motto is always ‘Healthy Baby, Healthy Mom.’ In certain circumstances, C-sections are medically necessary to ensure the health and well-being of the baby and the mother, but medically unnecessary C-sections can pose serious health risks. These health risks can include increased rates of hemorrhage, transfusions, infections, deadly blood clots and increased postpartum readmissions. Babies face increased risks of infection, respiratory issues, decreased breastfeeding rates and longer hospital stays. Also, women who deliver via c-section for their first birth have a much greater chance of having a C-section for subsequent births, increasing their risk for major complications. For all of these reasons, we are proud to receive this recognition by the Florida Surgeon General for our work and look forward to continuing to deliver high-quality treatments to our community.”

Tom Bowden, Chief Administration Officer for Rockledge Regional Medical Center added, “This award is a testament to the collaboration and dedication of the staff at Steward Family Birthplace.  The entire team understands the benefits and importance of a vaginal births for first time mothers.”

In 2020, over 75,000 babies were delivered via C-section in the State of Florida, a decrease of over 5,000 from 2019.  Brevard County specifically saw a decrease in the number of C-sections and with a focused, continuous commitment of hospitals like Rockledge Regional Medical Center to provide safe and effective care to mothers and their babies, the decline of unnecessary C-sections will continue.

Rockledge Regional Medical Center, The Florida Department of Health, and the Agency for Health Care Administration share a common goal to improve maternal and child health outcomes and understand

the importance of eliminating unnecessary C-sections, delivering a healthier beginning and a healthier future for moms and babies.

About Steward Health Care – Rockledge & Melbourne

The Mission of Rockledge Regional Medical Center and Melbourne Regional Medical Center is to provide the highest quality health care with compassion and respect. Both hospitals are full acute care hospitals and includes a network of affiliates providing rehabilitation services, wound care, laboratory services and pain management. For more information on, visit: and

About Steward Health Care System:

Nearly a decade ago, Steward Health Care System emerged as a different kind of health care company designed to usher in a new era of wellness. One that provides our patients better, more proactive care at a sustainable cost, our providers unrivaled coordination of care, and our communities greater prosperity and stability.


As the country’s largest physician-led, tax paying, integrated health care system, our doctors can be certain that we share their interests and those of their patients. Together we are on a mission to revolutionize the way health care is delivered - creating healthier lives, thriving communities and a better world.


Steward is among the nation’s largest and most successful accountable care organizations (ACO), with more than 5,500 providers and 43,000 health care professionals who care for 12.3 million patients a year through a closely integrated network of hospitals, multispecialty medical groups, urgent care centers, skilled nursing facilities and behavioral health centers. 


Based in Dallas, Steward currently operates 39 hospitals across Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah.

For more information, visit