I joined a few pregnancy apps just to get an idea on what was out there. Funny enough, between the French, US apps and my OB I have 3 different due dates – Not that my midwives or myself are worried about it but that was quite interesting…

As I was reading through the different topics I saw on baby Center that 53% or women do not plan on taking a childbirth class.

To say that I was shocked is an understatement! Of course being a childbirth educator, I am a bit biased but maybe we need to think about the fact that the US has the worst maternal mortality rate in the developing world!

‘From 2000 till 2014 there was a 24% increase in maternal deaths in the US  and black women are three to four times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related complication than non-Hispanic white women.ii’

Doesn’t that scare people? In a country where only 1.5% of births are home births and a 1 in 3 women will have a cesarean, I would think being educated should help alleviate some of these fears and hopefully help change this trend.

Would you trust a general practitioner or a surgeon who had a high rate of patient mortality? Absolutely not!

While I understand that getting the numbers can be tricky, with some digging you can find some info. Of course, what matters really is the care provider c-section rate but also the rate of induction and the rate of epidural use.

Do you want to know in what instance you would be induced and what are the side effects of the drugs being used? Maybe you would be more comfortable with a mechanical ripening of your cervix (no drugs) with a foley catheter rather than using Cytotec or Cervidil? Do you know the potential side effects of the 2 drugs?

Will you be able to eat and drink during the induction or during labor? Able to walk around and go to the bathroom? Do you know you are looking at an average of a minimum of 24 hours for an induction for a first time mum? Do you really want to put yourself through that if it is not truly a medical emergency? Do you know that the use of Pitocin increases the risk of fevers, cesarean and the use of an epidural? Are you aware that an early use and prolonged use of an epidural can decrease contractions and require more pitocin? That there are some non negligible side effects for some women? Do you know if your care provider routinely cuts episiotomies?

All I am trying to say is that there is so much to take into account when you prepare for this experience. And while I understand that not everyone can afford a childbirth class or a doula, the information is out there and I really want to urge people to learn as much as possible so that when they go to their prenatal appointments they know what questions to ask and know how to advocate for themselves in labor. And yes of course, cesarean births save lives and inductions are sometimes warranted but at least I want for people to know that in their particular situation it was absolutely necessary rather than an instance where we have no idea what happened and how it ended this way and we move through parenthood traumatized by our experience, feeling that we can’t share or ask questions because at least we have a heathy baby! Can we please have a healthy baby and an emotional and physically healthy mother?

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