The need for maternity healthcare reform worldwide

Thursday, August 30, 2012 by: Victoria Moore
Tags: maternity, healthcare, reform

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(NaturalNews) The rising rate of Cesarean births has become a serious problem with the C-section rate over 32 percent in the United States, which is more than double the rate recommended by the World Health Organization. The rise can be attributed to the willingness of doctors to perform the surgery as well as the lack of the parent's understanding of the potentially serious complications, not to mention the monetary reasons behind the pro C-section attitude. (

The main concern is the long-term effects of this surgery such as higher risk of childhood obesity, asthma and allergies, just to name a few. Cesareans are too often performed in unnecessary situations including having a normal birth after a previous C-section. The epidemic of women having a C-section who could have safely delivered vaginally is only just beginning to show its impacts.

Benefits of normal birth

Yale University recently released a study that has the power to impact the decision to give birth naturally. Vaginal birth releases UCP2, a protein that promotes brain function as well as short and long-term memory. The brain-boosting chemical is triggered by the stress of moving through the birth canal stimulating the hippocampus and aiding cells to survive in stressful conditions. (

Another benefit of a normal vaginal birth is that the child is at a lower risk for respiratory problems and illness. The pressure of labor helps to expel amniotic fluid out of the baby's lungs while also exposing the newborn to a host of healthy bacteria that will colonize in the intestines and help build a healthy immune system. Missing out on the benefits of a normal birth can have long-lasting effects that can carry on into adulthood. (

Ina May Gaskin, the mother of authentic midwifery, says that the U.S. is in danger of destroying obstetrics and midwifery in favor of births becoming surgical events. An example of this trend is Brazil with many hospitals exceeding a 95 percent Cesarean rate.

The need for health improving changes to maternity care is essential to the long-term health of mother and baby as well as the entire family. (

What can be done?

The lack of rationality and accountability in maternity care is a problem across the globe. Ways to promote better birth practices is to seek providers who offer safe alternatives to cesarean and other unnecessary birth procedures and bring awareness to others about the risks of birth interventions when used outside of an emergency. A national rally is being held in almost 100 major cities across the U.S. on Labor Day, September 3rd, 2012, to bring awareness of the lack of evidence-based practices in maternity care and ask for reform. The hope is to increase access to midwives and initiate educational requirements for maternity care providers that train in scientific-based practices. Additionally, offering public education programs to educate women and promote meaningful informed consent. (

More and more women all over the world are becoming aware of the impact of medically unnecessary labor interventions and demanding better birth options. In July there were marches organized in 13 cities in Brazil, the highest C-section rate country in the world, after a medical regulating agency in Rio banned doctors from performing home births and labor coaches known as douglas from assisting in hospitals. Following the demonstration, the decision was reversed giving the Brazilian women the freedom to choose their birth. (

Bringing light to the maternity care issue lowers health care spending but most importantly infant and maternal mortality rates. The medical industry is forced to meet the practical needs of the childbearing population rather than being profit-driven. This provides both mother and baby with high quality care that offers a lifetime of benefits.

Sources for this article include

About the author:
Victoria Moore is natural health researcher/blogger, yoga instructor and Usui Reiki master. Her passions include empowering women on how to prepare for natural labor, teaching yoga to adults and children and learning about alternative approaches to health and lifestyle. Through her website she enjoys connecting with other like-minded people and sharing information about health and wellness, natural parenting, alternative medicine and organic living.
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