Why Do We Need to Improve Birth?

Join the metro Detroit 'National Rally for Change' this LABOR Day! Stand in support of evidence-based care for mothers & babies!

Did you know:

  • The cesarean section was first measured in 1965 and the national U.S. C-section rate was 4.5%.  The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends cesarean rates be no higher than 10-15% and that anything higher does more harm than good for moms and babies.
  • In 2010, Michigan ranked as the 23rd highest rate out of all 52 states in cesarean deliveries, with a c-section rate of 32.6%, coming in only .02% lower than the U.S. 2010 rate of 32.8%. *
  • The recommended rate of medical induction is 10% or less but in an analysis of 19 hospitals across the country, it was found that 44% of women planning a vaginal birth were medically induced.  Inducements such as:  cervical gels like Cervidil, breaking the ‘bag of water’ (amniotic sac), Pitocin, Misoprostil (Cytotec) and membrane stripping.  These augmentations of labor DOUBLE the chances for a C-Section.  Additionally babies born via C-section have an increased chance of Respiratory Distress Syndrome; babies born by cesarean  section don’t have amniotic fluid squeezed out of their lungs as babies do who pass through the birth canal.
  • 75% of women who get an epidural before 4cms dilated end in a C-Section. **
  • Reducing medically unnecessary interventions will not only save lives, but also a huge sum of money.  Childbirth Connection and WHO report that the US could save an estimated $3.4 Billion dollars each year by reducing the cesarean rate to 15%, the rate recommended by WHO.  The Amnesty International report states “an estimated $1 Billion could be saved annually—mostly by reducing neonatal intensive care unit admissions—if early elective deliveries were reduced.”  The March of Dimes has also begun a campaign to eliminate medically unnecessary inductions before 39 weeks gestation.
  • The US outspends every country in the world for maternity care, yet our maternal mortality rate is higher than 49 other countries.  In fact, Amnesty International reports that “women in the US face a greater risk of maternal death than nearly all European countries, as well as Canada and several countries in Asia and the Middle East.”
  • An eye-opening study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology examined the “quality of evidence that underlies the recommendations made by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”    It was discovered that only 30% of these guidelines were based on “good and consistent scientific evidence” and that 32% were based simply on “consensus and opinion.”  When obstetric guidelines were looked at individually, a mere 25% was found to be based on quality science and nearly 35% based on opinion.   CONCLUSION: One third of the recommendations put forth by the College in its practice bulletins are based on good and consistent scientific evidence. ***


A national movement is underway to improve birth in America.  More than 100 cities across the country are holding a “National Rally for Change” on Labor Day, September 3, 2012 and Detroit is joining the effort.  Holly Drake, an RN from Metro Detroit was inspired to bring awareness locally – and has engaged a very committed grassroots movement which will gather at the Cullen Family Carousel on the Riverwalk in downtown Detroit and will walk through Hart Plaza to Campus Martius.  This gathering is designed to bring awareness to the alarmingly high rates of medically unnecessary cesarean sections and labor inductions.  

This campaign, organized nationally by ImprovingBirth.org, seeks to educate and empower women with evidence-based information in order to make truly informed choices regarding their maternity care.  

“We’re not talking about natural birth, we’re just talking about normal physiological birth”, says Dawn Thompson, president of ImprovingBirth.org. “Every woman should have the right to choose the type of birth she wants, we are just asking for them to be evidence based and fully informed choices.”   

 Evidence Supports:

  • No Inductions unless Medically Indicated
  • Interventions only when Medically Necessary
  • Movement and Intermittent Monitoring
  • Vaginal Birth after Cesarean
  • No Inductions for Big Baby

JOIN THE METRO DETROIT NATIONAL RALLY FOR CHANGE!  Show your support for families to receive the best maternity care in the world. 

  • September 3 – LABOR Day
  • Meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Cullen Family Carousel on the downtown Detroit Riverwalk - 1340 Atwater St., Detroit MI  48234
  • The walk through Hart Plaza and Campus Martius will begin at 10 a.m.
  • Bring a picnic lunch – after the walk we will meet at the William G. Milliken Pavilion and listen to professionals speak about the need for evidence based maternity care.  Professionals will be on hand to answer your questions.
  • Kids Activities!!!  Face painting too!!!
  • Wear your ImprovingBirth.org T-shirt – OR – if you don’t have one – wear a light blue t-shirt.

RALLY SPONSORS:   BirthNetwork Macomb, Live With Awareness, Michigan Childbirth Education Connection, MI Green Team

More resources:

Rally Facebook page:  Improving Birth: National Rally for Change- Detroit, MI 



*Births:  Preliminary Data for 2010 - CDC

**Documentary More Business of Being Born


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