FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Susan Fekety
Days: 207-781-4488/fax 781-4470
One in Three American Women Now Gives Birth by Cesarean Section
Portland, MaineMore than four million women give birth in the United States every year. In 2006, the last year for which statistics are available, over a third of them delivered their babies not in a warm, inviting, relaxed setting surrounded by loving friends and family, but via major abdominal surgery in a bright, cold operating room, surrounded by mostly strangers. Although the World Health Organization recommends that no more than 1 in 10 births should be by
surgery, maternal-child health advocates worry that birth by cesarean section is becoming more and more "normal." The increase comes despite the known increased risks for surgical complications, premature delivery, infant breathing and feeding problems, and difficulty with family bonding during the post-operative recovery period. Women who want to have a normal childbirth must work harder than ever before.
Worries about malpractice suits contribute to our high rate of cesarean section. Additionally, insurance companies pay doctors a lot more for surgery than for a normal birthand surgery is a lot faster when you have a busy practice to run. Some obstetricians all but encourage women to schedule their induced laboror even their elective cesarean section—as a matter of mutual convenience. Whatever the drivers, it's as though the pain, risk and expense of the
of intervention" interfering with a natural human bodily function are only of minor concern. Advocates of normal childbirth argue that Mother Nature didn't create women's bodies so they'd need surgery to get a third of their babies bornif she had, humans would have died out many years ago.
Studies consistently show that the midwifery model for prenatal and birth care results in excellent outcomes for mother and baby, a reduced need for medical intervention, and far fewer cesarean deliveries. Midwives are trained with a holistic philosophy, using skills and traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation for as long as women have been getting pregnant and giving birthwhether in the hospital, birth center, or at home.
Still, fewer than 10 percent of women giving birth in the United States work with midwives. The ones who do say they enjoy having relaxed, personal and informative prenatal care; seeing a provider who has faith in a woman's body and who is an expert in what's normal (and what's not); who knows how to help her stay healthy; and who stays with her as she works to give birth. As the cesarean section rate continues to climb in the United States, the special skills of
midwives to keep birth normal and healthy are needed now more than ever.
According to Susan Fekety, MSN, CNM a practicing Certified Nurse Midwife who has worked with pregnant women for over 20 years, "Unfortunately, it's the rare American woman who gets the kind of consistent, empowering education and support she really needs to be able to have faith in the normal birth process, whether from her family, friends, or from her obstetrical provider." This places her at increased risk for obstetrical interventions she might prefer to avoid and
which, indeed, may be inappropriate for her or even entirely unnecessary. Fekety asserts that every woman needs a midwife on her maternity care team if she wants to beat the oddsand she must cultivate her own inner confidence in her power to give birth in a normal and healthy way.
According to Fekety, "Unfortunately, not all women have access to midwifery care, or if they do, they'd still like to stay connected with midwifery wisdom even when their midwife isn't around. I have found that affirmations are a valuable, simple, powerful tool for daily use during pregnancy. With affirmations, a woman can begin to re-set her body and mind with images of confidence, power and commitment." To this end, Fekety has written The Pocket Midwife, a bound
deck of 70 pregnancy affirmations designed to support women. Now in its second printing, The Pocket Midwife includes affirmations like, "My body is my friend," "My body knows exactly what to do," "My body opens to the energy of birth," and "I am a part of the endless chain of birthing women."
"I want every pregnant woman to move through her journey feeling supported, capable, and able to trust her body as it performs the everyday miracle of childbirth—as it was brilliantly designed to do. I'd also love to see more women working with some of the fantastic midwives who are available. Even for those women who are fortunate enough to have their own midwife, I envision The Pocket Midwife as a gentle reminding voice of assurance a woman can keep with her all