When I first heard the about the high c-section rates there was a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I had heard that in some facilities mothers had reported that most women had had c-sections the night they were having their baby. One of our members had asked what was the best way to find out local c-section rates. I suggested that she call the labor ward and ask for the nurse manager. She was able to do that in one phone call. We know that the national average is one third of all women. Averages mean that some places are higher and some lower.
I called West Suburban Hospital, just to make a comparison, guessing that it would be lower. I was referred to the nurse manager who never called me back. I was lucky enough to call Gayle Riedmann, CNM, who has a private practice at West Suburban. I asked her what her practice rates were. She told me 9%. She also mentioned that West Suburban’s rates were 17%. The World Health Organization states that the c-section rate should be 15%.
While I was digesting this, I contemplated how the rates had gotten so high. If nothing else I decided that I was committed to continuing as a self-appointed birth advocate until the tide is turned and women are treated with respect and evidenced-based medicine. I wonder again how child birth became medically managed. Families must educate themselves and make demands. This is the way things have changed in the past.
Parents must educate themselves. They must ask what the induction, epidural and operative delivery (including epsiotomies, vacuum, forceps, and c-section) rates are for both the practice and facility they are choosing. They must ask what these things are! We have a responsibility to educate them. We have a responsibility to continue educating ourselves. Mothers and babies lives depend on it. Hiring a birth doula, as an advocate, can also help you avoid unnecessary medical interventions.
Thanks for joining me on my human journey. BirthLink is a voice for change.