I love to think about birth options as a menu- maybe it’s my Italian background that finds a good food analogy everywhere. When I think about birth I think about planning to go out for a special celebration dinner. I first pick a type of food, next do some research and read ratings to see what others like or don’t like about the restaurant, and finally pick a place based on their ambiance and menu items I like that have been highly rated by many. So you ask how does this apply to your birth? Well you deserve to have the same transparency about where and with whom you will give birth. To demonstrate how this selection can go off-track, I will give you an example….
Too often I see women and their partners write a birth plan that we will call “Italian Cuisine Menu” which reflects the tastes they desire yet, without doing any homework or research, they show up at a Thai restaurant. Naturally, nothing on the Thai menu will look or taste anything the lasagna they were hoping for on the Italian menu.
I use this analogy as related to provider birth practices, rate of intervention and what you can expect in terms of privacy and birth ambiance you may be counting on from your menu selection.
You may be familiar with Dr. Eugene Declercq’s Birth by the Numbers. I remember the first time I experienced Dr. Declercq’s compelling and fun way of speaking and presenting maternity data, I knew instantly I wanted to create a companion to our documentary Orgasmic Birth: The Best-Kept Secret to include him sharing the data like a weather man, in and around the data. When he smiled and agreed, to film the bonus feature, I knew it was the beginning of finding ways to bring the data to life in a fun way and to help women and their partners understand how important it is to understand data- the data of the rates and practices of one’s providers and caregivers.
Dr. Declerq has released an updated version, with current rates and a new look at our broken maternity care system, or as I like to say- the system like the emperor’s new clothes (that is naked)! We are beginning to admit what we have knows in our hearts for sometime that we must make a change. Birth is a day that women deserve to be treated with love, respect and dignity and to remember with abounding joy. This is every MotherBaby’s birthright, but takes work to achieve. This work includes being educated and informed about your options so you can plan your birth menu wisely.
Be prepared to ask yourself and your caregiver some important questions!
A few key points to consider from the Science & Sensibility article and Birth by the Numbers are:
- The leading indicators for cesareans are labor arrest (34%)
- The rise in cesareans is not a result of a different indications. Dr. Declercq quotes a 20 year old article’s title that could still grace the front pages today. “The Rise in Cesarean Section Rate: the same indications – but a lower threshold.”
- First time, low risk mothers who birthed at term and experienced labor had a 5% cesarean rate if they went into spontaneous labor and did not receive an epidural. If they were induced and received an epidural, the cesarean rate was 31%.
What does this mean for you?
That it is important to know your options including your provider’s rates of interventions as well as practice style. Knowledge is Power! I hope you will take the time to explore what birth menu is right for you and your baby so that you will give birth with the ambiance, flavors and tastes that bring you pleasure!
Where and how will you get this information? I have provided some resources here plus you can benefit from a childbirth education class in your community or online. In Pain to Power Online Childbirth Classes we provide you the tools to ask the questions you need to know about you providers cesarean rates and practices, as well as many tips to create the privacy, safety and comfort you need to give birth with ease – greatly lowering your rate of cesarean and increasing your ability to have a spontaneous labor and birth that offer both you and your baby a lifetime of benefits.