I recently attended a meeting about a proposed birthing center here in the Atlanta area. It was a great meeting and I think having a birth center here would be amazing. In this meeting though, they threw out some pretty scary statistics and birth and c-sections rates in the US.
The World Health Orginazation recommends that the c-sections rate be between 5-10% and anything above 15% could be more harmful than beneficial (Althabe and Belizan 2006). So what is the rate here in the good ole’ USA? In 2008, the rate was 31.8% and even scarier is that the VBAC rate is less than 10% and falling! On top of that 99.1% of all births are in hospitals meaning only .9% of births are at home, a birth center and somewhere unspecified. No wonder our c/s rate is on the rise.
As far as the hospitals here in Georgia, their c-section rates range from 20.5% for North Fulton Regional to 40.4% at Northside Hospital (April 2008 – March 2009).
Here are a few more frightening stats:
-Only 7-10% of births are attended by a midwife in the US even though the data shows these births are actually safer.
-76% of moms in 2006 had an epidural
-41% of moms went into labor on their own
-33% of moms felt frightened during their birth
-42% of singleton preterm infants were delivered via induction or cesarean birth without spontaneous onset of labor. (2006)
So what do we do? First, we as consumers need to be educated. During pregnancy, a high quality childbirth education class (like Hypnobabies) is a must! If you don’t know what your options are, how can you advocate for yourself. Secondly, surround yourself with a great support team. Find an OB or midwife who has the same philosophies as you and hire a doula. Last but not least SPEAK UP! Don’t be afraid to let your opinions be know. This is your birth!