The birth world has been a buzz about the newly released consensus statement on preventing primary cesareans from ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) this week. And rightfully so. This statement includes things that the scientific evidence has been supporting for some time now, but that have not been widely practiced by maternity care providers. Some of the new recommended guidelines in the Safe Prevention of Primary Cesarean Delivery statement, and what I believe are the biggest game changers include:
These new guidelines offer great hope for lower cesarean rates and safer births for both mother and baby. But, it will be a big challenge to change the culture surrounding birth and obstetrician's attitudes about labor management. History has shown us that once new guidelines have been posted, it takes anywhere from 10-20 years before they are widely practiced. I don't want to wait that long. I'm afraid to wait that long. Our cesarean rate has been increasing steadily. Our maternal mortality rate has doubled in the last 25 years. We are ranked very low among developed nations in infant mortality and morbidity, yet we spend an obscene amount of money on maternity care...the most in the world.
We need these changes to happen soon. How can maternity care consumers facilitate these changes?
There are a lot of things I love about being a doula. A lot. One of those things is the support and friendship within the doula community here in Omaha. We have so many fabulous doulas here. And we're all friends. Seriously. We don't view or treat each other as competitors, but as colleagues. I belong to a facebook group in which most (maybe all) of the doulas in the Omaha area are members. Most of the conversations in that group are doulas helping each other out....providing backup for a sick or exhausted doula, sharing handouts, resources, articles and studies, offering suggestions for those harder labors, helping each other with website design, sharing opportunities for continuing education, inviting each other out for doula dates, doula parties, and doulas' nights out, cheering each other on, and offering a shoulder to cry on after those particularly emotional births.
We all have one common goal: safe, healthy and supported births. We all understand that no doula can be the right doula for every mom and genuinely want every mom to have a great birth. We work together to raise awareness about the benefits of doula care and refer to each other to make sure that every mom who wants a doula, finds one that is a good fit for her needs, desires, and personality. We deeply believe in this work. It's not about the money or the number of clients on our calendars. It's about moms and babies. It's about love.
Thank you, fellow doulas for your love and support not only for the mothers and babies of Omaha, but of your doula colleagues. It is a blessing to be a part of this lovely little community.
Amber Piller - Professional Birth Doula and owner of Agape Birth Services. Serving Northwest Houston including Jersey Village, Cypress, Tomball, Spring, and Katy Texas.