Last weekend I was able to attend a local birth rally put up on by
Improving Birth.org, an organization aimed at improving birth all over for ALL women. I have to say, I am so happy that I went and listened to the wonderful speakers.
Y'all know that I am a birth junkie, something that didn't happen until I had my own child. I'm now in training to be a Certified Childbirth Educator and I have hopes of one day (far from now) becoming a Certified Doula. It's amazing to realize just how much we have a voice. It's our babies, our bodies, our births and our memories. It's my hope that every woman can have a beautiful, wonderful birth no matter if they choose epidural, natural, hospital, home, etc...
There could be some who may not understand what needs to be improved in America's birth system. Sadly, there is a lot. And worst of all, I live in the state with the worst birth ratings. In other words, I live in the state that is the worst place to have a baby.
Fun stuff, right?
The World Health Organization recommends a national average of only 10-15% of births being done by C-Section (being medically necessary of course). Our average in Louisiana is at 40% -- are you kidding me? That's insanely high and very, very scary.
Now before we get off on the wrong foot, I know some women out there just want a C-Section. They want the ease of having a baby with no pushing, tearing, and for whatever other reasons they deem necessary. My thoughts on that are that if you have done ALL of the research, looked at all of the risks and facts and then if it is indeed what you want then I support you. Would I personally choose a C-Section or Induction for no medical reason? No, I wouldn't.
Do I believe that babies are meant to be born at their own time and without surgery? Yes, yes I do. It's how God intended for things to be and it's what our bodies were designed to do. However, we are extremely blessed and thankful to have medical advances and technology that can save our babies and ourselves when the need arises. Because sometimes there really is that need and I DO recognize that!
So what's the issue here?
The issue here is that doctors are performing C-Sections and scheduling inductions without there always being a true medical reason. Women are laboring for hours and hours and then told they must have a C-Section and then later discover the only reason the doctor performed the section was because the mother looked "tired." Doctors are scheduling inductions before 41 weeks just because of their own agenda (for example, did you know most clinics offer a delivery bonus to the doctor who delivers the baby?). Just because a woman is at 40 weeks and showing no progress does not mean a that she should be induced; nor does the whole "your baby looks too big" (in most cases). I was quite shocked to see when I was pregnant and had several pregnant friends that a few of them were trying to plan the birth with induction just to be sure that family from out of town could be there. I could maybe see for the father of the child, but all of the family just have to wait. Inductions can lead to cesareans and a whole lot of other issues; not to mention that the baby should be ready on their own.
Women who want to attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean) have to search high and low to find a provider or doctor who will support that decision, even though there's a very high success rate (there's only about a 1% chance of uterine rupture in a VBAC). Mothers are having their waters artificially ruptured withOUT consent and laboring women are told they can NOT eat and drink. Women and babies are separated for far too long and many mothers are walking away from their births feeling bullied, sad, heartbroken and even traumatized.
1 in 3 births in America ends in a C-Section and 9 out of 10 women will have all future babies by C-Section. We spend the most money on maternity care as a country, yet we have the highest mortality rate.
Things don't always go as planned...no doubt about that. Sometimes thing just happen and sometimes we need medical intervention. But here's what we need...what we need to improve...is the right for all women to have a voice and to know their options. The right for all mothers to have a wonderful birth experience that they can be happy about and the right for all mothers to experience evidence based care and to only have interventions that are absolutely medically necessary. If you had an induction and a C-Section or a water birth with no pain meds and can walk away saying that your labor was wonderful, then GO YOU. That's what matters. Unfortunately though, there are many women who don't walk away feeling this way and I got to listen to many of them speak. It breaks my heart.
There needs to be a change. Babies need to be born at their own time and women and doctors need to work together to have the best outcome that has the mother and baby's best at heart. Women need to have a voice, an empowering voice, to say that this is the way their birth will go and to of course, to know the options in case things are not progressing as planned.
Please check out
Improving Birth for more information.
Do you think that there is too high of a induction/C-Section rate?