Welcome to Childbirth U. I’d like to tell you why I’ve started Childbirth U and how it can help you and your baby have a safer and healthier birth.
I’ve known since I was a Lamaze teacher back in the 1980s that women weren’t receiving optimal care—that is, care that produces the best outcomes with the least use of medical intervention given the individual case—and they weren’t being given the information they needed to make informed decisions—that is, decisions based on complete and accurate information on the potential benefits and harms of all their options. And that has continued to be true right up to the present day.
How do I know that women aren’t receiving optimal care?
One-third of U.S. women deliver their babies via cesarean surgery with all that entails in terms of risk, pain, recovery, and complications in future pregnancies.3 Studies show that the sweet spot for the cesarean rate is less than half this number.4 This isn’t just a U.S. problem. Some countries have rates even higher than those in the U.S., and most countries have cesarean rates higher than they should be.
Few U.S. women give birth without experiencing at least one major medical intervention. Most experience more than one.2 The overuse of tests, drugs, procedures, and restrictions in childbirth is a huge problem because all medical interventions have potential harms. If they are used when using lesser measures or having patience would do, then women and their babies are exposed to the risks with no counterbalancing benefit.
How do I know that women don’t receive the information they need to make informed decisions?
Surveys of U.S. women have found that the majority were incorrect or weren’t sure when asked facts about induction of labor and cesarean surgery. And they were no more likely to be correct if they had undergone an induction or a cesarean.1,2 I know from my international experience and contacts that this is a problem in other countries too.
How has this come about?
It isn’t about maternity care professionals not wanting to do right by mothers and babies. It’s about major problems with the system. These include erroneous beliefs about the difficulties and dangers of childbirth and the safety of intervening, perverse economic incentives, and practicing defensive medicine. You’ll be able to find out more about this on Childbirth U as well.
How will Childbirth U help you?
Childbirth U lectures will put an easy to comprehend analysis of the obstetric research at your fingertips that lays out what the research establishes as optimal care. Childbirth U won’t tell you what to do; it will give you the ability to make the decisions that best fit for you and your baby whatever those may be. Childbirth U will also give you a means of evaluating other sources of information, including what your care providers tell—or sometimes don’t tell—you. This will enable you to choose or switch to a care provider who practices optimal care.
How do you know you can trust Childbirth U?
The great thing about Childbirth U is that it will enable you to judge for yourself. Sources will be provided for all information in the lectures, and if you want to dig deeper, you’ll also have access to mini-reviews of the research evidence.
Why enroll in Childbirth U?
The bottom line is enroll in Childbirth U to learn what you need to know in order to choose the best care provider and place of birth for you and your baby and make informed decisions about your care. Why Childbirth U? Because there will be a test.