Recently, 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 and think everyone should take a class. After all 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 3 to 4 times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related complication than non-Hispanic white womenii’
Doesn’t is sound so scary? In a country where only 1.5% of births are home births and a 1 in 3 women will have a cesarean, I think being educated about the birth process and having tools to advocate for oneself will help alleviate some of these fears and hopefully help change this trend!
While I understand that getting the statistics from your care providers or your hospital can be tricky, with some digging you can find some info.
Here are my recommendations:
You want to find out about the care provider’s c-section rate but also the rate of induction and epidural use. Ask about the different situations that may arise and how they would handle it.
For example: In what instance would you induce me 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? Maybe you want to ask about 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? It is good to remember that the average length for an induction for a first time mum is a minimum of 24 hours .
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 you to learn as much as possible! This way when you go to your prenatal appointments you know what questions to ask and feel comfortable having these conversations and advocating for yourself.
My wish is that you have an empowered, positive birth experience!