(Listening To Mothers III/Childbirth Connection)
It’s Mother’s Day Sunday — a time for high-calorie brunches and pastel-colored bath products — but an even better time to do some listening.
So, just in time, here’s a new report that does just that. “Listening to Mothers III,” produced by the nonprofit Childbirth Connection, is an in-depth look at women’s pregnancy and birth experiences that covers a huge range of topics, from pregnancy weight gain, breast-feeding and postpartum depression to use of pain medication during birth and paying for maternity care.
The report, the third of its kind, is based on online surveys of 2,400 women who gave birth to a single baby from July of 2011 through June of 2012 in a U.S. hospital. There’s a lot to digest here, but for anyone interested in birth, it’s worth spending time wading through the material.
Here, as highlighted by authors of the report, are some of the more salient findings:
–A quarter of women surveyed experienced three or more of five major medical procedures such as labor induction, drugs to speed labor, and cesarean section, while only one in eight women had none of these interventions.
–Unnecessary interventions — such as inducing labor for convenience or routine repeat cesareans — exposed women and their babies to avoidable risk.
–Most of the women could not correctly identify risks of labor induction or cesarean section, revealing problems with prenatal education.
–One in four who had these procedures reported experiencing pressure from a care provider to do so.
–Mothers expressed a high degree of trust in maternity care providers, with nearly half rating them as “completely trustworthy.”
Maureen Corry, Executive Director of New York-based Childbirth Connection, said in an interview that a perfect storm of forces — including pressure on women and complete trust in their provider — could lead to unwanted outcomes.
“The pressure to have an induction or c-section, a lack of awareness about the risks of those interventions and an unqualified trust in their health care providers is a potent combination that could result in women and their babies being exposed to unnecessary risk and receiving care that isn’t based upon the evidence,” Corry said. Continue reading