Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Putting Uterine Rupture Into Perspective

Lamaze International and the NIH ask the same question we did, are the risks of a VBAC more serious then risks present in a normal low risk labor?
Enough that hospitals should ban VBACs?
An interesting read!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

VBAC Bans in Michigan Hospitals

Women go to hospitals to give birth because they often feel that a hospital is best equipped to handle birth emergencies. Did you know that [michigan hospitals handle over 100,000 births a year but many smaller hospitals] don't actually have the ability to perform an emergency cesarean 24 hours a day/seven days a week? They also offer heart procedures/gastric bypass/other risky treatments, but if those patients need emergency surgery overnight no anesthesiologist may be available to handle the case. Don't you think that birthing women and other health consumers in our area have a right to know this?"
From 50 Ways to Protest a VBAC Denialby Barbara Stratton
© 2006 Midwifery Today, Inc

Many of these hospitals do not allow Vaginal Birth After Cesarean or VBAC or have de facto VBAC bans.When we started calling them to ask why, many of them responded they do not have a 24hr anethesiologist on staff or one that is dedicated to the OB floor. Many of the OB's go back to their offices when a mother is laboring. For this reason they cannot have an OR ready for a women who is having a VBAC who might have a slightly elevated risk of complication.

What we want to know is, if the risk of uterine rupture is only marginally lower for a low-risk labor and delivery, should these hospitals be delivering babies at all, if they say they cannot safely support VBACs?

The point being, if they think it is perfectly safe for a woman to give birth in their hospital, then it is just as safe for a woman to give birth vaginally after a cesarean in their hospital.

There is a VBAC ban in Metro Health right here in Grand Rapids, luckily women have other options a short distance away but there are many areas in Michigan that are VBAC deserts. Areas where a woman would have to travel 2 hrs or more to have a VBAC because of bans in hospitals like mentioned above. Would you want to travel two hours in laor to deliver your baby. Do you think this would be a SAFE option?

How many women made the choice to have another cesarean because they felt they had no other safe option?

This segment of an article published on ICAN's website states:

The growing trend among hospitals of mandating that pregnant women with prior uterine surgery must undergo cesarean sections in subsequent pregnancies is the latest in a series of maternity care practices that stand in direct violation of a wide body of law protecting the rights of patients, including pregnant and birthing women, to refuse treatment. The doctrine of informed consent/refusal is upheld by common law; case law; Constitutional law (the right to privacy and self determination protected by the 1st and 14th amendments); federal law (The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act and The Patient Self-Determination Act); international tort law (which US courts sometimes cite); state law; state mandated medical ethics; and the ethical guidelines of the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The doctrine of informed consent/refusal upheld by these laws provides all patients, pregnant or not, with certain fundamental rights:

• The right to exercise self-determination and autonomy in making all medical decisions, including the decision to refuse treatment.

• The right to bodily integrity; any form of non-consensual touching or treatment that occurs in a medical setting constitutes battery.

• The right to be provided with the necessary information on which to base medical decisions, including a diagnosis; recommended treatments and alternatives; the risks, benefits, discomforts, and potential disabilities of proposed medical treatments; realistic expectation of outcomes; the right to a second opinion, and any financial or research interests a physician may have in proposing certain treatments.

• The right to be informed of any potentially life threatening consequences of a proposed treatment, even if the likelihood of experiencing such an outcome is rare.

The right to make medical decisions free from coercion or undue influence from physicians.

• The right to have informed medical decisions witnessed, signed and documented by the attending physician and another adult.

• The right to revoke consent to treatment at any time, either verbally or in writing.

( to read the full article click here )

co·erce (k-├╗rs) KEY

co·erced, co·erc·ing, co·erc·es
To force to act or think in a certain way by use of pressure, threats, or intimidation; compel.
To dominate, restrain, or control forcibly: coerced the strikers into compliance. See Synonyms at force.
To bring about by force or threat: efforts to coerce agreement

If a hospital is restraining a womans safe options to give birth vaginally, could that not be considered coercion? There have been doctors who have obtained court orders to order a woman to have major abdominal surgery. What happened to "first do no harm?" The possible harm of a cesarean section is far greater then a vaginal delivery after cesarean.

Part of our mission as ICAN of Grand Rapids is to encourage our community to stand up to these bans, and create a safer, more mother-friendly childbirth environment.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Guerilla Midwife

I am so excited to announce the date for our documentary screening!
March 3rd 2011 Doors Open at 6pm Movie starts at 6:30
at Wealthy Street Theater
See the Event listing on the CMC Website here

Guerilla MidwifeA 90 minute documentary by Deja Bernhardt
Starring Ibu(Mother)Robin Lim

Along the fragrant streets of Bali and desolate Acehnese refugee camps of the Indonesian Archipelago, Ibu Robin - A Guerrilla Midwife - perches over the red lips of volcanoes and finds herself at a time where midwifery is put to the test, when there is no technology right at the epicenter of the Earthquake and the bowels of the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami in a culturally mesmerizing, heart-wrenching, epic documentary to show why we must change our protocols for pregnancy and childbirth back to a gentle, natural method, if our planet is to survive the dominance of mankind. "Healing the Earth one baby at a time." ~Ibu Robin Lim There is a WAR being fought day and night, in every country on this planet, to gain an asset more precious than gold or oil - it is our human capacity to LOVE that is at risk. The battlefield is women's individual bodies when they are most vulnerable and in need of protection, at the time they are giving birth. It is at the fulcrum of birth and the first hour thereafter that individuals develop either an intact ability or an impaired capacity to love. It is your capacity to love that either makes you helpful or harmful to all sentient beings and our environment. Technology, when used inappropriately in birth has disempowered women, harmed the bonding process and sabotaged breastfeeding and our essential human right to love and be loved. This is the burden and the gift of the Guerrilla Midwife. It is not only environmental disasters that are standing in between WOMEN but the "Big Business" of BIRTH

"Future of Birth in Michigan" Discussion to follow with a panel of midwives and birth experts.
Info tables from local birth and parenting organizations

Donations will go towards

Bumi Sehat Foundation International and ICAN of Grand Rapids Bumi Sehat Foundation International, founded in 1995, is a non-profit, village-based
organization of dedicated families, midwives, doctors, nurses, teachers and volunteers
from Indonesia and other countries around the world. Bumi Sehat runs two by-donation
community health centers in Bali and Aceh, Indonesia that provide over 17,000 health
consultations for both children and adults per year. Midwifery services to ensure gentle
births is at the heart of Bumi Sehat and our clinics welcome approximately 600 new
babies into the world each year. We have also established capacity building and
community outreach programs, including a Youth Center and village recycling program.

Explore this page for more info on the International Cesarean Awareness Network and our local ICAN of Grand Rapids chapter

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

First ICAN Support Group Meeting Tomorrow!

Our First Cesarean/VBAC Support Group meeting is tomorrow! Please check out the Support Group page for pertinent info.

I am so excited about this group and what its going to mean for the women and families in this area. We will be focusing most of our time on sharing and listening, this will be a safe space where women and their family members or spouses can work through traumatic birth experiences together, or maybe just rethink confusing events and ask others for their opinions or advice on your unique situation if you wish. I think it is invaluable to share your birth story and hear stories from other mothers and fathers, whether you are expecting your first or seventh! I read a quote today that sums up well how I hope to be supportive from one mom to another:

"We need to take care with every message we deliver to women about birth, and ensure that each message honors the fact that every woman at every moment is making the best decisions she can for herself and her child, with the information she has. And the truth is...that can take a mountain of strength." - Melissa Bruij...n and Debby Gould (in Pathways to Family Wellness Magazine

I plan to carry that quote into this group with me to try to prevent further wounding of moms that might already be vulnerable, and to be as supportive as I can.

We also plan to spend a moment or two discussing ways to prevent a first time cesarean or a repeat cesarean, and how to get the support you need to have a VBAC or HBAC.This week we will be less thorough on this topic because we will be connecting for the first time and I am sure we will discuss what ICAN of Grand Rapids hopes to be and how people can get involved.

There will usually be one or two birth professionals attending and they will be open to answering questions before or after the meeting. I look forward to meeting some new friends and working on changing the current birth climate in Grand Rapids together!

Stephanie Mayne
ICAN of Grand Rapids Chapter Co-leader

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Screening Coming Soon! Check back for more details!

Announcing ICAN of Grand Rapids Blog!

Our mission:
To improve maternal-child health by preventing uneccesary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cearean (VBAC).
ICAN of Grand Rapids is a local chapter of the International Ceasarean Awareness Network.
(ICAN), a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cesarean(VBAC). We serve the Greater Grand Rapids area, and because we are the first chapter of this kind in West Michigan, strive to support those who need it in the entire West Michigan area until more local chapters can be started. Anyone who wishes to be a part of maternal health advocacy, or feels they need an advocate is welcome to participate!
~Monthly Meetings
~In Person, Phone, Email Support Options
~Special Events
~Advocacy Work
~Local Childbirth resources
~Empowerment, knowledge, and trust

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