(from my inbox - republished here verbatim.)
As you probably know, the Cesarean section rate has been increasing steadily
since 1996 and now is the highest it has ever been – 26.1% in 2002. Some
experts predict it could rise to 50% in the next decade if the dramatic increase
we’ve seen in the last several years continues. Cesarean surgery can be
life-saving; however almost half, and some say as many as two thirds, of all
Cesareans performed in the U.S. are unnecessary.
In October of 2003 the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
(ACOG) determined elective Cesareans to be an ethical decision, rather than a
medical one, and freed its members to decide on their own whether to offer women cesarean surgery without medical indication. This is alarming considering the hazards of Cesarean surgery to mothers and babies:
Hazards of Cesarean Section to the Mother
- Women run 4 to 7 times the risk of death with cesarean section
compared with vaginal birth.
- One in ten women report difficulties with normal activities two
months after the birth, and one in four report pain at the incision site as a major
problem. One in fourteen still report incisional pain six months or more
- Twice as many women require rehospitalization as women having normal
- As is true of all abdominal surgery, internal scar tissue can cause
pelvic pain, pain during sexual intercourse, and bowel problems.
- Reproductive consequences compared with vaginal birth include
increased infertility, and miscarriage.
- Women having elective repeat cesareans are more likely to experience
hemorrhage requiring transfusion, blood clots, and infection.
Hazards of Cesarean Section to the Baby
- One to two babies per 100 will be cut during the surgery.
- Studies comparing elective cesarean section or cesarean section for
reasons unrelated to the baby with vaginal birth find that babies are 5 times
more likely to require assistance with breathing, and 5 times more likely to be
admitted to intermediate or intensive care.
- Babies born after elective cesarean section are more than four times
as likely to develop persistent pulmonary hypertension compared with babies
born vaginally. Persistent pulmonary hypertension is life threatening.
We are circulating a petition that will be mailed to Tommy Thompson, the
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Please click on this link to sign a petition to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, asking them to endorse the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative written by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services and asking them to develop a Blueprint for Action to Reduce Cesarean Surgery.
If you live in Massachusetts, also click on this link to sign a similar petition to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
FORWARD TO YOUR CONTACTS
Please forward this to anyone who you think would want to help support
women have the best birth experience they can so that babies and families can
have the best start in life. You can forward it to your colleagues, clients,
physicians, midwives or nurses you have worked with and to any birth or
parenting listservs or email groups you belong to.
We also have paper copies of the petition that we would be happy to send via
email or U.S. mail to you if you want to collect signatures “person to person”.
PUT A LINK TO THE PETITION ON YOUR WEBSITE
Post a link to our home page , which has background information about the petition and points people in the right direction to sign.
It also has a link to a Massachusetts state petition, which grew out of our local
"Project One Voice" rally in February.
Jessica Porter DeeDee Lafayette
Executive Director Assistant Director
Liza Capodilupo Barrett Lauck
Membership Coordinator Workshop Coordinator
Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators
P.O. Box 390436
Cambridge, MA 02139