Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Our Blog Has Moved

BirthNetwork NWA has a brand new website design, which includes a new home for our blog! For recent and future content, please visit us at birthnetworknwa.org/blog.

Be sure to let us know what you think of the new site!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

NWA Hospitals Adopt New VBAC Policies

Our blog has moved! You can find the content of this post at our new home here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

For Profit Hospitals Are Performing More C-Sections

An interesting new study has found that "for-profit hospitals in California are performing cesarean sections at higher rates than nonprofit hospitals.

A database compiled from state birthing records revealed that, all factors considered, women are at least 17 percent more likely to have a cesarean section at a for-profit hospital than at one that operates as a non-profit. A surgical birth can bring in twice the revenue of a vaginal delivery.

In addition, some hospitals appear to be performing more C-sections for non-medical reasons – including an individual doctor’s level of patience and the staffing schedules in maternity wards, according to interviews with health professionals."

Research has told us for some time now that your chance of ending up with a C-section has a lot to do with which doctor and hospital you choose. Yet women continue to choose their doctor based on who their insurance covers, and unfortunately, (and I hear this often) which hospital has the biggest, prettiest birthing suites. In fact, that's what the hospitals in NW Arkansas seem to promote most of all. A large sign on I-540 stood for some time marketing an area hospital as "the Beverly Hills of Birthing Centers." Really? Well, I hear they do a lot of surgery in Beverly Hills.

If you are really interested in the best birth for you and your baby, do your research. Not all doctors and hospitals are created equal. Ask what the c-section rate is when you are deciding where to go, then compare. You owe it to yourself. I have a pretty good feeling that California isn't the only place where money is made on unnecessary c-sections.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Siblings at Births

Our blog has moved! You can find the content of this post at our new home here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Living It Green Expo

Here are a few pictures from our booth at the Living It Green Expo, held September 11-15 at the Pinnacle Hills Promenade. We wish we had kept track of how many women we spoke with, but I am convinced that we reached as many as 200 women. We had a great time and met some amazing women!

One lady we met was a yoga instructor who told us about her amazing birth experience. At 9 cm she got an epidural and shortly thereafter learned that her baby was transverse (lying sideways instead of head down). Despite the fact that she had an epidural, and without the aid of a doula or midwife, she was able to get on her hands and knees to use yoga positions to turn her baby, thereby avoiding a c-section. Amazing! It's always great to get out into the community and talk to moms. You never know what stories you are going to hear!

KNWA Morning Show Highlights Pampered Mama Giveaway

Check out the interview we did with KNWA Today on the Pampered Mama Giveaway and the Birth Survey. I always come away from these interviews realizing that my nervousness results in important points being left out. I wish that I had emphasized that The Birth Survey isn't just for hospitals and doctors. You can take the survey if you had a home birth or birth center birth with a midwife. I also forgot to mention our Pickles and Ice Cream meetings. Well, hopefully people will find everything when they come to our website. We've already had an increase in hits this month since we started promoting the Pampered Mama Giveaway!

Monday, August 31, 2009

All This Hard Work Calls For A Little Pampering

Yesterday my husband and I were having a conversation about the nature of advocacy work. We both are very passionate about our causes. If you come to our house, don't be surprised if you hear something about birth, politics, or both. What we have found lately, however, is that sometimes, the negative aspects of our work can tend to "overwhelm our systems" and instead of feeling fulfilled and refreshed by our work, we feel frustrated, angry, and defeated by an opposition more powerful, more well funded, and more irrational. Three qualities that make an enemy hard to defeat.

For instance, you may remember seeing us on the news in April protesting the bans on VBAC in NW Arkansas hospitals. We stood outside of every hospital in NW Arkansas with signs declaring our support of a woman's right to choose the course of her own maternity care. We wrote letters to the hospitals and met with administrations of some of them. The news cameras were there. People driving by honked in support and took pictures of us holding our signs and our babies at the same time. We felt powerful. We felt like we were making a difference.

Well, the outcome, unfortunately, was the exact opposite of what we wanted. The four hospitals in the NW Arkansas metro area, who are usually in competition with one another, joined hands in a show of solidarity, issuing a joint statement affirming their united committment to continue to ban VBAC. In fact, those who had been known to be more "merciful" in their approach, tightened the ban and placed their doctors under strict orders to turn women away who requested support for a VBAC.

Needless to say, I personally spent the summer feeling pretty defeated. I "took a break" from all things birth and tried to focus on the needs of my family. After all, birth work is only one part of my life. Luckily, thanks to some amazing co-leaders, we regrouped. We decided that protesting isn't the only way we can help women, and we decided to focus our efforts on some things more basic: namely

  • Creating a cohesive birth community where members are supportive of each other and where mothers who need direction during their pregnancy and birth can find resources and support.
  • Serving our professional members who have endorsed the MFCI.
  • Reaching out to women "beyond the choir" in our community.
  • Promoting the Birth Survey in our area so that women have a robust resource for comparing the quality of maternity care providers and the services they offer.
We hope you will stay tuned, because starting tomorrow, September 1st, we have some exciting programs and opportunities for you. Like our "Pampered Mama Giveaway." Click on our homepage to find out how you can win a prize package full of ways to help you relax and enjoy life after birth. Massages, dinner for two, entertainment, spa services, carpet cleaning, a mama-baby photo session, and more! It's all there. And we think you deserve it. Mothering is hard work, after all--as is every really important work.

Hmm. . . after the last year, maybe I need a little pampering.