Cesarean delivery is over-used. The lowest cesarean rate in the United States is 23%, the highest is 40%! In Oregon the cesarean rate is 29.4% (from ACOG article). The new statement by ACOG and SMFM will hopefully change those numbers.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine issued a joint Obstetrics Care Consensus statement: Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery. This is a big game changer for the medical field of labor and delivery. It discusses the rate of cesarean in the United States, the causes and the outcomes of the over use of cesarean and suggests steps to take to change the cesarean environment. The study states “the alarming and sustained increase in the cesarean rate in the United States has not improved either maternal or neonatal outcomes. In fact, data suggest that there is increased maternal mortality and morbidity associated with cesarean delivery.”
The authors provide a new set of guidelines that offer ways to lower the cesarean rate and make labor and birth more safe for the mother and baby. The guidelines also offer a more hands off approach to the management of labor which would allow moms to labor longer, doctors would be forced to be more patient towards the natural (and sometimes slow) progression of normal labor. They suggest a respect for and understanding of women’s ability to give birth. This impacts hospitals as well, as they will have to plan for longer stays for women in labor and delivery. A safe and healthy mother and child are the end result; cesareans are not the only (and shouldn’t be the first choice) for that result.
The hope and the goal is for women to have confidence in their ability to give birth and for all those involved (doctors, nurses, staff, friends, family, etc) to also respect a women’s body and ability to progress through labor on her own, in her own time and through her own means.
Some of the new guidelines are:
The American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine are to be applauded for their careful research and willingness to make recommendations for labor management based on best evidence. They have provide direction for health care providers and women. This is a most welcome change.
Read the full ACOG article here
Read the full overview of the ACOG article from Science & Sensibility here
Doula Rachel has put together a blog of resources, info-graphics, and articles, with an occasional self-published blog. Enjoy!