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Consumers urge accountability from hospitals in maternity care

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Sep 2, 2014 at 4:07 PM

On Monday, mothers and supporters gathered at the Norwalk reservoir and at over 115 locations throughout the weekend for the third annual Rally to Improve Birth.

As greater national attention is brought to alarming rates of Cesarean section and what Amnesty International has called a maternal health care “crisis” in the U.S., consumers are asking their local hospitals to join the push for accountability. (NOTE: Click HERE for more information about this.)

The local 2014 Rally to Improve Birth took place at 10 a.m. Monday at Veterans Memorial Lake Park.

Consumer advocates and national health organizations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Joint Commission continue to point to physician practices — not medical need — as a driver in the overuse of Cesarean delivery. (NOTE: Click HERE for more information about this.)

Meanwhile, women who have already had Cesareans report major access problems to vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC), including large numbers of hospitals and care providers with mandatory surgery policies that do not “allow” vaginal birth. Nine out of ten American women give birth only by repeat Cesarean after the first surgery, despite national health policy calling VBAC safer for women in most cases.

“We realize that many hospital administrators are truly not aware of what goes on in their facilities. We are asking them now to take a serious look at what’s happening on their watch — especially important measures like Cesarean and vaginal birth after Cesarean,” said Dawn Thompson, founder and president of Improving Birth. “Every one of these numbers represents real women and babies.”

Improving Birth representatives are asking local hospitals to examine their own rates of procedures, labor ward protocols, and physician practices to identify how they match up to national guidelines for safely preventing Cesareans. Hospitals are invited to meet with local consumers to discuss how improvements can be made.

“We hear over and over again that women are to blame for the rates of procedures like Cesareans and vaginal births after Cesarean, but research just doesn’t support that sweeping claim,” said obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Nick Rubashkin, staff physician at the California Pacific Medical Center and former Fulbright Research Fellow. “As physicians, we have an ethical responsibility to take a serious look at how we can better our own practices to benefit women and babies.”

Below are other related links:

• “User Guide to the 2012 Natality Public Use File” (2013). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (PDF: http://bit.ly/VBACrate)

• National Institutes of Health. (2010). “NIH Conference Statement. Vaginal Birth After Cesarean.” Obstet Gynecol June 2010 – Volume 115 – Issue 6 – ppg 1279-1295  (Free full text: http://consensus.nih.gov/2010/vbacstatement.htm)

• American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Practice (2010).  “Practice Bulletin #115: Vaginal Birth After Previous Cesarean Delivery.” Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Aug;116(2 Pt 1):450-63. (PDF: http://bit.ly/ACOGVBAC)

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