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Improving Birth - Detroit area Rally for Change

What is evidence based care and how does it apply to birth? How can you get involved to help?

Last night I watched The Lorax with my kids.  The famous Dr. Seuss quote, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not," really struck me in connection with birth.  

Mainstream society seems to think nothing of interventions with the normal process of birth.    Since I've become a postpartum doula, I spend a lot more time learning about how birth effects the baby and mother.  

My guess is that in each of our little worlds, we know a woman who was induced, or had a c-section, or an episiotomy.  How many birth stories do you know about in your circle of friends and family?  As a doula, I hear countless birth stories and the trends are frightening to me.  Why is it that woman need so many interventions to give birth?  Do we want those interventions?  Do we need the interventions?  Are we fully informed about the pros and cons of each intervention?  What does it say about our society if woman can't have a baby without "help?" 

There seems to be a lack of education among women regarding evidence based practices for birth and early baby care.  I'm wondering how many of you have heard of delayed cord clamping, or the risks associated with circumcision, the importance of placing a baby on his/her mother immediately after birth and not separating them?  What about "routine" practices like washing vernix off of babies, or suctioning out their lungs, and inducing birth with pitocin?

I have four children, each birth has been different.  I've only recently become interested in the importance of evidence based care.  As I learn more I want to know why our area hospitals are doing things to babies just because they have been done that way for ages and not because research shows it is in the best interest of mothers and babies.  I can't go back and change what happened during my own children's births, but I can help raise awareness and educate about evidence based birth practices. 

"A nationwide organization called Improving Birth is helping to raise awareness about these issues.  Their purpose is to encourage and insist that all maternal healthcare providers practice evidence-based care. On average it takes 20 years for proven research to become practice. For the sake of mothers and babies everywhere, we can’t wait 20 years. The long-term effects of unnecessary inductions and cesareans are just starting to be realized. This matters for all people. Despite the dire situation, this is not a protest, but a public outreach event.

What can you do?  According to www.improvingbirth.org – We need women, men and children to come stand in support of evidence-based maternity care for everyone. The Rally will be held in 100 locations all over the country as the launch to Empowered Birth Awareness Week.

Join the fun! – We will be meeting on September 3rd, at the carousel at 9:30 and walking walk through Hart Plaza & Campus Martius. We will return to finish the rally at Milliken State Park. We encourage you to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy after the rally at noon. Children's activities will include free face painting and games!"

Click on the events page for more information FB events page.

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You can e-mail me with questions/comments at theafterbabylady@gmail.com

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Diane Dengate September 07, 2012 at 02:44 PM
As an L & D nurse I would like to reccomend that you challenge the soon to be new mothers to educate themselves on what pregnancy, labor and birth really are instead of putting all the responsibility on the health care professionals. Women come in and expect that if cared for properly, they will feel no pain. Often women come in to a hospital after reading many of the "labor support" books seeing the health care providers as the enemy. I can not tell you how many times I have tried to put a new born on the mothers belly only to have her tell me to get "it" cleaned up first. I love being a part of the birth experience, whether the mom is prepared or not. I will do my level best to make it a good experience regardless of the circumstances. But I chaffe at being seen as the enemy.
Jill Reiter September 08, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Diane, I hope this article did not cause you to chaffe! I agree that education is key, and as I stated there is a lack of education amongst women regarding evidence-based best practices. I am in awe of the work L & D nurses do everyday. I am especially thankful when, like in the situation you mentioned, evidence-based practices are implemented. Kudos to you for providing your patients with such excellent care! The Improving Birth Rally was an amazing experience. The main goal of the rally was to educate. Through education there is a hope that evidence-based, best practices for mothers and babies be the norm. Thus - improving birth! For more information check out www.improvingbirth.org

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