Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

In Honor of Cesarean Awareness Month: Introducing The VBAC Education Project

10 Apr

VBAC was deemed a reasonable and safe option to a routine repeat cesarean by the National Institutes of Health decades ago (1981). But, in recent years, misinformation about its safety and lack of clear national practice guidelines have succeeded in virtually eliminating VBACs in many hospitals. Intro.keyThousands of women are being denied medical care for VBAC and given no choice but to “consent” to a repeat operation they do not need or want. Mothers have the legal right to make their own health care decisions, but that right, more often than not, is not upheld. The  upcoming, evidence-based VBAC Education Project, endorsed by the International Childbirth Education Association was developed to answer the many questions parents have about VBAC and provide educators and maternity care professionals with the resources they need to support women who want to labor after a prior cesarean. This volunteer collaborative project will be available for download at no cost.

Read more […]

Women Fight For The Chance To Use Their Own Bodies In Giving Birth

13 Mar

Los Angeles, CA (March 2015) — Ninety percent of American women who give birth by Cesarean will have all future babies by surgery. The new feature-length documentary film, Trial of Labor TOLgives a voice to four California women fighting those odds: planning births after Cesarean (VBAC).

Access to VBAC remains extremely restricted in the U.S., with many hospitals maintaining mandatory surgery policies (also known as “VBAC bans”) for women who have had Cesareans. These policies, based primarily on non-medical factors, mean that tens of thousands of women every year have no choice in how they give birth: they are pushed into surgery whether they need it or not.

This situation persists despite a top-level push to increase access to VBAC. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists calls VBAC, “safe and appropriate” for most women, while the National Institute of Health and American Academy of Family Physicians urge increased access to VBAC as a pressing issue of public health, warning against the life-threatening risks of harm from multiple Cesareans. When a woman is given the chance at a “trial of labor,” she has about a three-in-four chance of avoiding the operating room.

The women featured in Trial of Labor are determined not to have unnecessary surgeries, but face a gauntlet of self-doubt, unresolved feelings about previous births, limited support, and even ultimatums from their care providers. The film presents the poignant, sometimes messy, reality of their journeys: in their own words, from their own perspectives.

As the process unfolds, we watch the women learn to trust themselves again. For them, giving birth is more than just the means to an end: it’s a profound reclaiming of the right to use their own bodies to get there.

Trial of Labor premiers in Los Angeles on March 18, 2015. For a limited time, beginning March 20, it will be streamed to about 150,000 members of the public via multiple national and international childbirth, consumer, and advocacy organizations. The film will be released to the general public on March 31.

To watch the Trailer, visit www.trialoflabor.com

Epidurals For Labor: Telling It Like It Is

11 Feb

A national survey of women who gave birth in U.S. hospitals in 2011-2012 reported that 6 out of 10 mothers had an epidural for pain relief in labor. An epidural is a very effective form of pain relief, but it can also lead to complications that eventually makes it necessary for the mother to have a cesarean.

At Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial in Fremont, Michigan expectant mothers are educated about the benefits and risks of using an epidural in labor and their informed choice is respected. Dr. Tami Michele, DO, FACOG, OB/GYN, Medical Director CassieEhard3746461480_ba31648524_zand Obstetrics and Gynecology Department Chair is a strong advocate of women’s informed choices. Mothers are educated about the benefits and risks of epidural anesthesia for labor and also given a Plan for Vaginal Birth form that includes many options for pain relief: massage; hypnosis techniques; use of whirlpool or  shower; use of a birth ball and freedom of movement and positions for birth.

This is the information that women are currently given if they are considering an epidural for pain relief.

Read more  […]

Take A Sneak Peak at The Mama Sherpas, a Documentary by Filmaker, Professor, and VBAC Mom

12 Dec

Brigid Maher, a tenured, associate professor of Film and Media Arts Division in the School of Communication at American University will soon be releasing a documentary about the health benefits and advantages of midwifery care for women with a prior cesarean.

The Mama Sherpas is a feature-length documentary film about women receiving their maternity care through midwife-doctor teams.  For two years Maher followed nurse midwives, the doctors they work with, and their patients to provide an investigative lens into how midwives work within the hospital system. The official TRAILER has just been released. Sherpaslogo

A Sherpa refers to a member of a Tibetan people living on the high southern slopes of the Himalayas in Eastern Nepal known for providing support for foreign trekkers and mountain climbers. Here, it is the midwives who are the sherpas or guides for the expectant mothers’ journey through pregnancy, labor and birth.

Evidence shows that collaborative care reduces interventions, lowers cesarean rates and improves health outcomes. Maher was inspired to make the film after her VBAC of a 9 pound 10 ounce daughter. She knew that the midwifery model of care she received made all the difference and wanted women with a prior cesarean to know about their options for care providers.

Why is this film important?

About one in three babies are born by C-section today, though the World HealthOrganization recommends that the best outcomes for mothers and babies are achieved when that rate remains below 15%.  Additionally, according to the Center for Disease Control, the U.S. has one of the highest infant mortality rates among industrialized countries.

How can these disturbing trends be reversed?

In recent years, the idea of a “collaborative care” practice where doctors and midwives manage women’s care together has begun to gain traction in the U.S.  So far, research has demonstrated that collaborative care models produce better outcomes for mother and baby, including fewer C-sections.

Maher and her team plan to release the film in the fall of 2015.  You can follow The Mama Sherpas on the film’s website where you can read several of the mothers’ birth stories and check Facebook and Twitter for updates on the film’s world premiere.

 

Resources

Find a Midwife

Citizens for Midwifery

Mothers Naturally

National Association of Certified Professional Midwives