The Case for a New Labor (and Delivery) Movement in America
Guest Post by Jacinda Hover, DC
Like what I did with the play on words there? I can’t resist a pun…no matter how cheesy or overplayed it may be. Seriously though, what is going on with the rise of birth interventions in this country? I chose this as my first blog because it has motivated me to not only change my career path, but also to become an activist in empowering women to make informed choices.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the number of births by caesarean section in 2014 was 32.2%. This is greater than twice the 10-15% target rate of the World Health Organization, which reports that when the caesarean rate exceeds 10% there is no further improvement in infant or maternal mortality. In other words, 10% of all c-sections are truly life saving and the remaining are likely unnecessary, which begs the question…If greater than half of all c-sections are not necessary, why are they being performed?
Reasons for C-Sections, according to the International Caesarean Section Network, Inc:
- 31% are due to dystocia (failure of labor to progress) because the pelvic opening is too small or contractions are irregular/weak.
- 12% are due to a breech presentation, meaning the baby’s feet or buttocks come out first instead of the head.
- 31% are repeat cesarean sections.
- 5% are due to fetal distress (the baby is shown to have abnormal heartbeat pattern with fetal monitoring).
- 21% are due to other causes such as maternal illness (such as heart disease, diabetes, and active infection) or medical emergencies including placental previa or a prolapsed cord, which cuts off baby’s oxygen supply.
What can women do to prevent birth intervention?
This is where myself and other Webster Technique certified chiropractors enter the scene. Aligning the pelvis during pregnancy allows the baby to assume the optimal presentation for birth. The technique involves releasing the ligaments attaching to the uterus and adjusting the sacrum if it is rotated in the pelvis. Proper pelvic alignment opens up the passage for the baby during delivery, thus preventing one of the causes of dystocia. In addition, the developing baby now has room to comfortably obtain the optimal position for birth (head down and facing backwards), preventing a breech position.
In addition to seeking chiropractic care during pregnancy, I implore pregnant women (or those considering having a child) to explore their options of healthcare providers. Certified Nurse Midwives and doulas are also both amazing resources for prenatal education and advocacy to help set you up for the best birth possible.