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Nearly 10,000 rally for the “largest women’s rights issue in decades”

For Immediate Release

September 7, 2012

Nearly 10,000 rally for the “largest women’s rights issue in decades”
National Rally for Change event to continue annually “until American birth is safer” 

San Diego, Sept. 7 – This Labor Day, Sept. 3, more than 9,500 women, their families, and birth and medical professionals gathered near local hospitals in over 100 cities across the U.S.  The first National Rally for Change was created to bring awareness to the lack of evidence-based maternity care and the need for safe, informed birth choices for women.  Today, Dawn Thompson, event organizer and founder of ImprovingBirth.org, stated: “With an estimate of over 600,000 medically unnecessary cesareans in the U.S. each year (per World Health Organization guidelines), we are committed to continuing to educate and promote awareness for evidence-based and safer birth practices.”

Women in the U.S. face a greater risk of maternal death than nearly all European countries, Canada, and several countries in Asia and the Middle East, according to Amnesty International.

“The first step to fixing any problem is being aware that there is one. Most women just aren’t aware how out of line we are with worldwide health standards, and they often believe they are being given true and accurate information by their care provider,” said Thompson.  “We want every woman in America to know: you and your baby deserve better than the “routine” care that is often outdated and full of measurements from technology that have proven to be grossly inaccurate—you deserve the safest, most modern, science-based care.  And you deserve to make safe, informed choices.”

Many U.S. hospitals and providers claim to practice evidence-based care, but the numbers do not support this claim.  If all hospitals were practicing evidence-based maternity care, we would not have such a high rate of artificial induction of labor (34%), high surgical birth rates (over 32%), or such low instances of Vaginal Birth after Cesarean (7%).  Routine use of non-evidence based maternity care practices contributes to the one in three American births that end in surgical delivery.  Examples of other practices that have been proven not only unnecessary, but potentially harmful, include denying a laboring woman food and drink (60%), restricting the movements of a laboring woman to the hospital bed (76%), artificially accelerating labor with medications (47%), and continuous electronic fetal monitoring (94%).  These practices, while common, are not evidence based.  (See References, below.)

“Evidence-based care is about continually updating our clinical practices using the best and most current research available to us,” said researcher and university nursing professor Rebecca Dekker, PhD, RN, APRN.  “In academia, we’ve been pushing evidence-based care as the gold standard for decades—but there have been barriers to implementing it in the clinical setting. It is so exciting to see consumers discovering the concept of evidence-based practice and gathering together to demand the better care that can and should be available to them.”

Thompson said, “This isn’t about limiting choices—it’s about more information and better choices.  It’s about access to the very best information so that women can work together with their health care providers towards informed, safe decisions about their bodies and their babies.”

“We are thrilled and humbled by the response to this first-time event.  It shows this growing outcry across our country for more modern and more humane maternity care. This Labor Day, thousands of women and families, doctors, nurses, midwives, and doulas came together to say, ‘We deserve better.  Our babies deserve better.’

“American maternity care must change, and we’re taking to the streets until it does.”

For more information visit www.ImprovingBirth.org 

 

References
National Institutes of Health “Contemporary Cesarean Delivery Practice in the United States”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2947574/

Childbirth Connection “Best Evidence: C-Section” http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10166

National Institutes of Health’s Consensus Statement on Vaginal Birth After Cesarean

http://consensus.nih.gov/2010/vbacstatement.htm

Chilbirth Connection “Listening to Mothers” Survey http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ClickedLink=205&ck=10068&area=2

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