The National Rally for Change
The Largest Women’s Rights Movement in Decades
A national movement is underway to improve birth in America. At least 40 cities across the country are holding a “National Rally for Change” on Labor Day, September 3, 2012, to bring awareness to the alarmingly high rates of medically unnecessary cesarean sections and labor inductions. This campaign, organized by ImprovingBirth.org, seeks to educate and empower women with evidence-based information in order to make truly informed choices regarding their maternity care. “We’re not talking about natural birth, we’re just talking about normal physiological birth”, says Dawn Thompson, president of ImprovingBirth.org. “Every woman should have the right to choose the type of birth she wants, we are just asking for them to be evidence based and fully informed choices.”
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.
The US outspends every country in the world for maternity care, yet our maternal mortality rate is higher than 49 other countries. In fact, Amnesty International reports that “women in the US face a greater risk of maternal death than nearly all European countries, as well as Canada and several countries in Asia and the Middle East.”
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.” The March of Dimes has also begun a campaign to eliminate medically unnecessary inductions before 39 weeks gestation.
In the words of the inspirational Maya Angelou, “When you know better, you do better,” which is the chosen slogan for ImprovingBirth.org. Join the movement to get educated, empowered, and active! Go to www.improvingbirth.org to find out if there is a rally in your area or how to get one started today!