A group of local women has joined a national movement aimed at educating the public about maternity care, specifically the prevalence of cesarean sections and labor inductions.
“It’s a national event that is growing exponentially,” one of the local organizers, Leigh Anne Hancock, said. “Every mother and baby deserve to have lots of different options. We are not saying you need to have a baby a specific way, but moms should know what their options are.”
Improving Birth organized the National Rally for Change on Labor Day, and rallies, such as the one planned here, have been scheduled for Sept. 3 in more than 100 cities nationwide, organizers said.
What: National Rally for Change
When: Labor Day, Sept. 3, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Where: Corner of Gunbarrel Road and Crane Street near Women's East
For more information: Visit this Facebook event page
According to the Improving Birth website, the rallies are efforts to support “evidence-based maternity,” which means the care has been proven by reliable research to be beneficial to mothers and babies and reduces the scope of complications, injury and death.
“It’s a peaceful rally,” Hancock said. “It’s just trying to get awareness out there. We do have choices. We want to lower the c-section rate.”
She also said that attendees will be provided signs for showing up and don't have to bring their own.
In 2010, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued new guidelines aimed at reducing the national c-section delivery rate, according to Time.
USA Today reported in 2010 that between 1996 and 2007, the proportion of c-section births increased more than 70 percent in six states—Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Nevada and Rhode Island.
Dr. Charles David Adair, with Erlanger, and several regional obstetrical consultants said the topic is complex. There is an array of reasons for the rising rate of c-sections and labor inductions, he said.
Increased obesity creates medical complications, which can lead to the need for a c-section.
Fertility treatment can also lead to complications and an operation, Adair said.
Some women have a “morbid fear” of vaginal birth. And some women are busy and want to schedule a birth, Adair said.
Fear of being sued can also be a contributing factor, he said.
“I’ve heard practitioners say, ‘Nobody’s ever been sued for doing a c-section too early,’” Adair said.
But with c-sections come risks.
Adair said a woman is five to 10 times more likely to die with a c-section, although, even with a c-section, the overall death rate during birth is incredibly low, so even the increase doesn’t mean the numbers are high, he said.
For labor inductions, Adair said it can be the right thing for some people, but it should be done if there is a medical need, not because a woman is tired of being pregnant.
He also said it’s difficult to put a number on how many c-sections and labor inductions are appropriate because it’s based on each individual situation and all the factors that contribute to that specific instance.
Doctors nationwide have implemented a 39-week rule, aimed at trying to eliminate unnecessary c-sections and labor inductions before 39 weeks of gestation, Adair said.
Hancock said she hopes the upcoming rallies encourage women to get all the information and make an informed decision.
“I think [women] are not getting [information about] all the options,” she said. “They don’t necessarily know the risks associated with the procedures.”