We are fortunate to live in a country where the majority of women who need medical interventions during the birth process have access to them. But because no intervention comes without side effects, judicious discretion should be practiced when using interventions during birth.
Despite the fact that the United States spends more money on health care than any other country – and more on maternity care than any other type of hospital care – maternal mortality rates are actually increasing for U.S. women rather than decreasing. These discrepancies in maternal health outcomes are parallel in time with rising rates of Cesarean section, decreased rates of vaginal birth after a previous Cesarean section, and an increase in the amount of medical interventions in the “standard” hospital birth.
No doubt about it- most obstetric interventions are over-used. Educate yourself as to the risks that are associated with interventions so you can make your choices from a conscious and empowered position.
Further reading on this topic:
More recent studies reaffirm earlier World Health Organization recommendations about optimal rates of cesarean section. The best outcomes for women and babies appear to occur with cesarean section rates of 5% to 10%. Rates above 15% seem to do more harm than good (Althabe and Belizan 2006).
With record high cesarean rates, it is especially important for women to have access to information about the benefits and risks of Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) and repeat cesarean so they can make informed decisions about their births. This article provides illuminating facts to help women when considering their options.
Today, we estimate that more than one in three women have their labors induced in the United States (Listening to Mothers, 2005). Yet, induction of labor is a medical intervention which is rarely needed. Pharmaceutical induction before a woman’s body is ready for birth can lead to long, complicated labors, doubling your chance of a cesarean. Take a closer look at the common reasons for inductions and the associated risks.
No doubt about it. Epidurals are aptly named the “Cadillac of analgesia.” Epidurals allow women to be awake and aware yet free from pain during labor and birth. Despite these benefits, you would do well to look under the hood before you decide to drive this “Cadillac” off the lot. Like all medical interventions, epidurals have potential harms. The wise woman will want to weigh them against her other options. Unfortunately, many care providers don’t supply complete information. To give you a more balanced picture, this article outlines the risks and disadvantages of epidurals according to the research.
Despite the fact that the United States spends more money on health care than any other country – and more on maternity care than any other type of hospital care – maternal mortality rates are actually increasing for U.S. women rather than decreasing.
Alice and Jorge, early labor © Sarah Tew Photography