Friday, February 12, 2010

Cesarean Section Stats

As I approach the 23rd week of my pregnancy, I am very much looking forward to the birth of my baby in a few months. We are planning a homebirth and are very excited to birth in the comfort of our own home. I chose a homebirth because I want to feel safe, secure, loved, and in control of my birth experience.

More than 4 million women give birth each year. Around 98% of those women birth in the hospital. There are some interesting statics surrounding hospital births. Did you know that in 1975 the c-section rate was 7%? Today it is almost 30%. In North Texas, where I live, it is an astounding 50-60%. I believe this to be due mostly in part to continuous electronic fetal monitoring as well as the adverse effects of the use of medication during birth. The World Health Organization recommends the c-section rate to be 15%. And, CIMS, the Coalition for Improving Maternal Services recommends a 10% c-section rate in community hospitals and 15% in high risk situations.

Ina May Gaskin is a well known midwife and author of many wonderful books on birth and related topics. She is the director of the Farm Midwifery Center in Summertown, Tennessee. According to the documentary, Pregnant In America, over 2,000 women give birth at The Farm and of those births, less than 1.5% ended up with c-sections.

What makes these statistics so astonishingly different? What does this say to you about the care given in hospital verses birth centers and homebirths?

There are several documentaries on birth that I recommend to anyone who is planning to give birth in any setting: Pregnant In America, Orgasmic Birth, and The Business of Being Born.

On May 13th from 7-9pm, the Tarrant County Birth Network will be hosting its free monthly "Round-Up" at Grapevine Public Library in Grapevine, TX. We will have a speaker on the topic of Cesarean Section and VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). A panel of moms will also speak on their personal experiences. If you live in Tarrant County or the surrounding area, you will want to attend this meeting!

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