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‘Rally to Improve Birth’ set for Labor Day

By Staff | Sep 4, 2015

A worldwide rally is planned for Labor Day to call attention to a perceived healthcare crisis surrounding maternity care in the United States.

The fourth annual Rally to Improve Birth will take place on Monday in dozens of states across the country and in Canada, Mexico and Australia. Initiated by the non-profit organization Improving Birth, the event aims to build awareness and support for evidence-based care and humanity in childbirth.

A rally will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the Cape Coral Hospital’s Family Birth Suites.

“The point is to let women know that they have a choice in childbirth,” Patricia Lawlor, of the rally committee, said. “They need to have all of their information regarding their care given to them.”

“They need to have their informed consent and refusal,” she said.

One goal of the Rally to Improve Birth is to promote evidence-based maternity care.

The idea of delayed cord clamping is one example. According to Lawlor, evidence indicates that delaying the clamping of the umbilical cord after birth supplies extra blood and nutrients to the baby.

“But not everyone is doing it across the board,” she said.

Other routine practices used that are based on non-scientific evidence can include being instructed to give birth lying on one’s back, being monitored during labor and being prohibited from moving around. Lawlor explained that evidence indicates walking, even using different positions, can help with labor.

Cesarean sections and their rates are also a focus.

“Sometimes cesareans are performed for no reason or an unnecessary reason,” she said.

Lawlor noted that it is due to women not being provided all of the information about C-sections. For example, many are unaware that it is harder to have a vaginal birth in the future after a C-section.

The World Health Organization suggests a rate of 10 percent to 15 percent.

In 2013, the Cape Coral Hospital had a C-section rate of 41.26 percent.

“So that’s a big difference,” she said.

On Monday, rally participants will wave signs bearing messages in support of the cause.

“We’re not protesting,” Lawlor said. “It’s sort of an encouraging rally.”

The public is invited to join.

“To show that they want safe, respectful, evidence-based maternity care,” she said.

Last year, between 50 and 100 people turned out for the Cape event.

“We’re expecting about the same this year,” Lawlor said.

A handful of maternity-based vendors and small businesses will be on site.

“People associated with the birthing community,” she said.

Yoga Bird Studio, of Fort Myers, will provide a free demonstration.

Take-home literature will also be available.

“Tables with information and brochures,” Lawlor said.

“You can talk to local birth people,” she added.

For information on the Cape rally, visit:www.facebook.com/ImprovingBirthSWFL.

For information on Improving Birth, visit: improvingbirth.org.

Families can also visit the Southwest Florida BirthNetwork at: swflbirthnetwork.com.

The Cape Coral Hospital is at 636 S. Del Prado Blvd.