Archive for the 'labor and delivery' Category

the birth survey – tell your story!

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

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If you are at all like me and want to tell every expectant mom (and anyone else who will listen) your birth story hoping it will embolden them to make good choices when it’s their turn, then read on. At last there is a place for you to share your birth experience that WILL impact those who follow. The Transparency in Maternity Care Project aims to “provide women with insight into maternity care practices in their community.” At the heart of this project is The Birth Survey, a 15-30 minute online survey collecting feedback on women’s experiences with their healthcare providers and birthing environments. The majority of the questions are multiple choice, which moves the survey along swiftly, and you can save as you go allowing you to work on the survey during naps or in-between client meetings. This survey launched in NYC this past weekend, and it will become available to women elsewhere in 2008.

This project is long overdue as a forum for women to document and give voice to their experiences from prenatal care through labor and delivery to postpartum care. Time and again I hear disappointed women recount their birth experiences only to justify the unmet expectations by the final result: a beautiful bundle of bliss. I know we deserve better and I’m delighted by the prospect of these surveys, coupled with statistical data from state departments of health listing obstetrical intervention rates, enabling women to make truly informed decisions as they move through pregnancy toward labor and delivery. This check and balance will hopefully compel practitioners and birthing environments to utilize the feedback to continually evaluate their procedures and care to best meet the needs of the women and families they serve. Furthermore, it will allow the cream of the crop to get the snaps and recognition they deserve.

I took the survey and found that the questions themselves unearthed choices I didn’t realize I had. My eyes are open wider as a result of this survey. I trust that my feedback will make a difference for someone who is already on their expectant journey, or will be someday soon. Now run along and tell your story!

nyc healthy birth fair

Friday, July 20th, 2007

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Tomorrow is supposed to be a beautiful day – the kind of day you want to spend outdoors, likely at one of NYC’s beautiful parks. Might I propose one park in particular: Union Square Park. In addition to the bountiful farmer’s market there each Saturday, tomorrow from 11a – 7p, for the first time ever, there will also be a healthy birth fair to raise awareness of maternity-care issues. Choices In Childbirth, along with The Grassroots Advocates Committee of CIMS and Friends of the Birth Center are hosting a fair to help improve maternity care for women in New York City. This is in light of the fact that the World Health Organization states that the rates for c-sections should not exceed 15%, however the 2004 rates in Manhattan on average were nearly double that.

Betsy Gotbaum, Executive Director of Childbirth Connection gave a report in December 2006 titled “Giving Birth in the Dark: City Hospitals Still Failing to Provide Legally Mandated Maternity Information:” in which she outlined the following,

“In 2004, the average cesarean rate in New York City was 28.6 percent, a 2 percent increase over 2003, when the rate was 26.6 percent. Many New York City hospitals now have a c-section rate over 30 percent.”

The New York Healthy Birth Fair will launch a few important initiatives at tomorrow’s event that aim to illuminate the truths about maternity care as well as reshape the landscape of birth in New York City. These projects include: 1. the New York City pilot of The Birth Survey; 2. the release of the 2nd edition of The New York Guide to a Healthy Birth; and 3. the public announcement of plans for an independent Manhattan-based Birth Center.

Swellbeing will be there tomorrow in support of these initiatives. Please come down and stop by to say hello. Whatever you do, get out and enjoy the beautiful weather!