Becoming a parent for the first time is one of the most intense experiences out there. Soon-to-be parents happily chose which gifts they want for their registry, which parenting classes take and which names they want for their little ones, but if a couple chooses to give birth at a hospital, their right to make informed decisions stops as they enter the building. Hospital and doctor policies have made it very difficult for mothers to have the birth experience they want. It is outrageous that 9 out of 10 American women will struggle with care that can risk their life and that of their babies. Minorities are at the worst end of these health disparities. According to a National Vital Statistics Report from the Center for Disease Control, Hispanics have "the highest proportion of women with two or more previous cesarean deliveries." We are in desperate need of evidence-based perinatal care. We do not need more horror stories.
After 9 long months of pregnancy, moms shouldn't have to endure the uncertainties of labor and birth alone. They need the support of a medical system that will treat them with respect and will not force unnecessary interventions. We are not there yet since 1 out of 3 births will end up in a C-section and from these moms, 9 out of 10 will have their future babies the same way. Luckily, the latter was not the case for Erica Heinsman, a Silver Spring mother of two. She had a very difficult labor induction which resulted in her first baby being born via cesarean. Not satisfied with her experience, Heinsman learned about VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). With her second birth, the challenges of labor were still there, but this time she had the chance to make her own decisions based on the information from her providers. After her successful VBAC, her goal is to empower all women through education, support and access to this valuable information.
Erica Heinsman is the coordinator of the Washington DC Rally from ImprovingBirth.Org which is part of a nationwide movement to promote safer, healthier, happier births accross America. ImprovingBirth.Org seeks to solve the problem of the U.S. maternity care empowering mothers as consumers to demand respect, dignity and compassion during childbirth as a human right. This rally will be held at the same time in over 160 cities all over the United States. This year, the rally will focus on VBAC. This family friendly event will take place this September 5 from 10am to 12pm at the corner of Georgia Ave and Wayne Ave. 1 Discovery Pl in Silver Spring Maryland. There will be a raffle with gift cards from Babies R Us and Target so you can't miss it!
Follow this link to their Facebook event page.
Declercq, E. R., Sakala, C., Corry, M. P., & Applebaum, S. (2007). Listening to Mothers II: Report of the Second National U.S. Survey of Women's Childbearing Experiences: Conducted January-February 2006 for Childbirth Connection by Harris Interactive® in partnership with Lamaze International. The Journal of Perinatal Education, 16(4), 9-14.
Curtin, S. C., Gregory, K. D., Korst, L. M., & Uddin, S. F. (2015). Maternal Morbidity for Vaginal and Cesarean Deliveries, According to Previous Cesarean History: New Data From the Birth Certificate, 2013. Natl Vital Stat Rep, 64(4), 1-13.
Hamilton, B. E., Martin, J. A., Osterman, M. J., Curtin, S. C., & Matthews, T. J. (2015). Births: Final Data for 2014. Natl Vital Stat Rep, 64(12), 1-64.