Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 1:22 EDT

Facing rising maternal death rates, thousands of women in 45 states rally for better care

August 31, 2012

Women demand research-based maternity care not offered in most American hospitals

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Called “the largest women’s rights issues in decades,” women will gather simultaneously across the country this Labor Day to bring attention to the need for informed birth choices, evidence based practice, and humanity in American maternity care. The first National Rally for Change takes place between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., Monday, September 3, at or near hospitals in 110 cities in 45 states.

Despite outspending every other country in the world in maternity care, the U.S. lags behind 49 industrialized nations in maternal survival rates. Surgical Cesarean sections, which can lead to long-term negative health consequences for women and infants, are performed at one out of three births (http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10166). The driving forces behind high surgical Cesarean section rates are a medical labor induction rate of 34% and a 7% rate of vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC) (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2947574/). Although the National Institutes of Health states that VBAC is a reasonable option for most women (http://consensus.nih.gov/2010/vbacstatement.htm), more than half of women who desire a VBAC cannot find supportive care. The result, according to Amnesty International: “women in the U.S. 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.”

“This is a major women’s health issue. We now have a culture of highly medicalized birth where unnecessary, non-evidence based procedures can harm a normal physiological process–putting women and infants at higher risk for poor outcomes,” said Dawn Thompson, founder of nonprofit ImprovingBirth.org and event organizer. “We are asking providers and hospital administrators to work with us to save lives and improve outcomes by basing care of women and babies on the best evidence and research.”

Organizers expect thousands of women, their children, and families to attend rallies in cities like New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. Where rallies are being held, hospitals were contacted to ask for their cooperation to help raise awareness.

Said Ms. Thompson: “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.”

More information: www.ImprovingBirth.org.
Rallies: http://www.improvingbirth.org/national-rally-for-change/participating-cities/

Contact: Dawn Thompson (760-840-8723) dawn.thompson@improvingbirth.org

SOURCE ImprovingBirth.org

Source: PR Newswire