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Why Do We Need to Improve Birth?

Why Do We Need to Improve Birth?
Check out this blog post of great evidence-based maternity care information AND also information about Detroit's Improving Birth Rally on Labor Day, 9/2 - location and time listed below, join us!


  • The cesarean section was first measured in 1965 and the national U.S. C-section rate was 4.5%.  The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends cesarean rates be no higher than 10-15% and that anything higher does more harm than good for moms and babies.
  • In 2010, Michigan ranked as the 23rd highest rate out of all 52 states in cesarean deliveries, with a c-section rate of 32.6%, coming in only .02% lower than the U.S. 2010 rate of 32.8%. *
  • The recommended rate of medical induction is 10% or less but found in research by ImprovingBirth.org, 42% of first time mothers were medically induced.  Inducements such as:  cervical gels like Cervidil, breaking the ‘bag of water’ (amniotic sac), Pitocin, Misoprostil (Cytotec) and membrane stripping.  These augmentations of labor DOUBLE the chances for a C-Section. 
  • 75% of women who get an epidural before 4cms dilated end in a C-Section. **


A national movement is underway to improve birth in America.  More than 150 cities across the country are holding a “National Rally for Change” on Labor Day, September 2, 2013 and Detroit is joining the effort. 

Holly Drake, an RN from Metro Detroit was inspired to bring awareness locally – and has engaged a very committed grassroots movement which will gather at the Cullen Family Carousel on the Riverwalk in downtown Detroit and will walk through Hart Plaza to Campus Martius.  This gathering is designed to bring awareness of the benefits of maternity care using evidence-based medicine. 

This campaign, organized nationally by ImprovingBirth.org,  brings awareness to a problem and a solution.  So many people are unaware of just how much room for improvement there is in our maternity care system: of how much of a gap there is between "routine" or typical care and care that is based on scientific evidence and known best practices.  So many women are unaware that respect and compassion in childbirth aren’t just luxuries; they’re a human right.

What is Evidence-based Maternity Care?

Evidence-based maternity care means practices that have been shown by the highest quality, most current medical evidence to be most beneficial to mothers and babies (reducing incidences of injuries, complications, and death), with care tailored to the individual.

Now is the time to work together…

“This movement isn’t about natural birth vs. medicated birth. It’s not about hospital birth vs. home birth or birth center birth.  It’s about women being capable of making safer, more informed decisions about their care and that of their babies, when they are given full and accurate information about their care options, including the potential harms, benefits, and alternatives.  Then, within that choice, they are treated with dignity and compassion.”

~ Dawn Thompson, Founder of ImprovingBirth.org


Evidence Supports:

  • No Inductions unless Medically Indicated
  • Interventions only when Medically Necessary
  • Movement and Intermittent Monitoring
  • Vaginal Birth after Cesarean
  • No Inductions for Big Baby


  • September 2 – LABOR Day
  • Meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Cullen Family Carousel on the downtown Detroit Riverwalk - 1340 Atwater St., Detroit MI  48234
  • The walk through Hart Plaza and Campus Martius will begin at 10 a.m. - Noon.
  • Bring a brown bag lunch or buy from vendors - birth care professionals will be on hand to answer your questions.
  • Strollers and babywearing encouraged.
  • Wear your ImprovingBirth.org T-shirt – OR – if you don’t have one – wear a light blue/turquoise t-shirt.

MORE Did You Know:

  • Reducing medically unnecessary interventions will not only save lives, but also a huge sum of money.  Childbirth Connection and WHO report that the US could save an estimated $3.4 Billion dollars each year by reducing the cesarean rate to 15%, the rate recommended by WHO.  The Amnesty International report states “an estimated $1 Billion could be saved annually—mostly by reducing neonatal intensive care unit admissions—if early elective deliveries were reduced.”  The March of Dimes has also begun a campaign to eliminate medically unnecessary inductions before 39 weeks gestation.
  • The US outspends every country in the world for maternity care, yet our maternal mortality rate is higher than 49 other countries.  In fact, Amnesty International reports that “women in the US face a greater risk of maternal death than nearly all European countries, as well as Canada and several countries in Asia and the Middle East.”
  • An eye-opening study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology examined the “quality of evidence that underlies the recommendations made by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists .”    It was discovered that only 30% of these guidelines were based on “good and consistent scientific evidence” and that 32% were based simply on “consensus and opinion.”  When obstetric guidelines were looked at individually, a mere 25% was found to be based on quality science and nearly 35% based on opinion.   CONCLUSION: One third of the recommendations put forth by the College in its practice bulletins are based on good and consistent scientific evidence. ***


More resources:

Rally Facebook page:  Improving Birth: National Rally for Change- Detroit, MI 



*Births:  Preliminary Data for 2010 - CDC

**Documentary More Business of Being Born

***** http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Abstract/2011/09000/Scientific_Evidence_Underlying_the_American...

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