Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rally to Improve Birth

Join the National Rally for Change! A full scale birth revolution on Labor Day

Support evidence-based maternity care! 

The National Rally for Change is to encourage and insist that all maternal healthcare providers practice evidence-based care. On average it takes 20 years for proven research to become practice. For the sake of mothers and babies everywhere, we can’t wait 20 years. The long-term effects of unnecessary inductions and cesareans are just starting to be realized. This matters for all people. Despite the dire situation, this is not a protest, but a public outreach event located where the vast majority of the population gives birth.

The Improving Birth rallies are taking place in more than 100 cities across the United States on Monday September 3rd from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm.

Why Rally to Improve Birth?

The results of Childbirth Connection's national "Listening to Mothers" survey show that high c-section rates don't come from maternal request, and that although most women want to make the ultimate decisions in their own care, they don't always have this option.  (If you'd like to read a summary of the findings of these surveys, I wrote one up a while back here.)

Improving Birth was founded with the vision of encouraging hospital administrators to review their birth-specific policies and procedures. We ask that they implement incentive programs for doctors and nurses to get up-to-date information and education about the most current care practices. The U.S. outspends every country in the world for maternity care, and yet we rank #49 for maternal mortality rates.

The U.S. has trailed behind most of the developed or industrialized world for many years and our maternal and infant mortality rates have gotten worse in the last few years. It's more dangerous to give birth in the United States than in 49 other countries. From Amnesty International:
Maternal deaths are only the tip of the iceberg. During 2004 and 2005, more than 68,000 women nearly died in childbirth in the USA. Each year, 1.7 million women suffer a complication that has an adverse effect on their health.

This is not just a public health emergency - it is a human rights crisis. Women in the USA face a range of obstacles in obtaining the services they need. The health care system suffers from multiple failures: discrimination; financial, bureaucratic and language barriers to care; lack of information about maternal care and family planning options; lack of active participation in care decisions; inadequate staffing and quality protocols; and a lack of accountability and oversight.
The facts speak for themselves.  The World Health Organization recommends cesarean rates should be no higher than 10-15% and that anything higher does more harm than good for moms and babies.  Despite this warning, 1 in 3 American women are giving birth surgically.  That equates to a high number of medically unnecessary surgeries.  Additionally, the recommended rate of induction is 10% or less but in an analysis of 19 hospitals across the country, it was found that 44% of women planning a vaginal birth were medically induced.
An eye-opening study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology examined the “quality of evidence that underlies the recommendations made by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”  It was discovered that only 30% of these guidelines were based on “good and consistent scientific evidence” and that 32% were based simply on “consensus and opinion.”  When obstetric guidelines were looked at individually, a mere 25% was found to be based on quality science and nearly 35% based on opinion.

 Reducing medically unnecessary interventions will not only save lives, but also a huge sum of money.  Childbirth Connection and WHO report that the US could save an estimated $3.4 Billion dollars each year by reducing the cesarean rate to 15%, the rate recommended by WHO.  The Amnesty International report states “an estimated $1 Billion could be saved annually—mostly by reducing neonatal intensive care unit admissions—if early elective deliveries were reduced.”


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