Education is key to avoiding increasingly common practices that are unnecessary or sometimes harmful; Women share birth experiences in their own voices
WASHINGTON, May 22, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Every pregnant woman hopes for the same thing – a safe and healthy birth for her baby. Yet, women are increasingly provided care that may actually make labor and birth more difficult or less safe. Today, Lamaze launched a new campaign, called "Push for Your Baby," to encourage women to advocate for better care for their babies and themselves.
"With the right information and education, women have the opportunity to be active partners in their care during pregnancy and birth, not just recipients of that care," said Lamaze President-elect Tara Owens Shuler, M.Ed., CD(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, Director of Continuing Education, Special Projects, and Lamaze Childbirth Educator Program for the Duke AHEC Program. "This campaign is designed to help women be 'savvy shoppers' and prepared to seek out the best care for their babies and themselves."
A recent study in Health Affairs highlights how patients, worried about being labeled "difficult," can be reticent to discuss a health care provider's recommendation.(1) For pregnant women, the pressure to agree to certain practices from family and friends, as well as care providers, can be significant. In fact, a Childbirth Connection study showed that many mothers have felt pressured by a health care provider to have an induction (17 percent with induction) and C-section (24 percent with cesarean).(2) Lamaze's new campaign focuses on the role that childbirth education can have in giving women the confidence they need to explore all their childbirth options, have open conversations with their health care providers, family and support team to seek out care that's based on best evidence.
"Like many other areas of health care, we know there are gaps in quality for pregnant women and their babies. The system is imperfect and often rewards care that's fast and expedient, but not necessarily best for the healthiest outcomes," said Catherine Ruhl, MS, CNM, Director, Women's Health Programs, Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). "Women need to hear that there are challenges in getting evidence-based care, and that they can play a critical role in ensuring the care they receive is best suited for their individual needs."
The campaign's online video includes the personal stories of seven women, each highlighting their own challenges, outcomes and learnings. "These stories underscore how important it is for expecting parents to be aware of the many options available to parents and to have the knowledge and support to push for the best care," said Shuler.
"Its all about women getting the care that matches their unique needs, and not just having things happen to them. Sometimes that may mean saying, 'I'd like to consider another option,'" said Shuler. "Women should know it's OK to push for better. And knowing how to spot good maternity care is the key to getting it."
Through the Push for Your Baby campaign, Lamaze is working to provide expecting parents with the tools and resources they need to partner with their care providers to get that care, including:
- PushforYourBaby.com – A website dedicated to expecting moms and dads that houses up-to-date information about childbirth challenges, ways to identify the best care, tips for pushing for better care, details about Lamaze education, and questions to ask their care provider.
- Parents Push – With this shareable video, moms – and dads – share their personal childbirth experience, both the highs and lows, and underscore the importance of childbirth education to having the safest, healthiest birth possible. The video offers those expecting a little one a chance to hear directly from someone who has been in their shoes.
- Push Story Sharing – Lamaze knows that some of the best learning happens through story telling. The Push for Your Baby campaign gives parents the opportunity to share both written and video birth stories highlighting the things they were glad they knew - or wish they had known - before labor and delivery, as well as the role that childbirth education played in their experience. Submissions will be shared on the campaign website and the top three entries in each category (written and video) will receive prizes from Lamaze, Tomy and GC Brands Childrenswear, and their photos and blogs posted to the home pages of Lamaze.org and PushForYourBaby.com.
"With clear challenges to getting high-quality maternity care, the value in being prepared and educated is more important than ever," said Shuler. "Childbirth education may seem like a hassle to busy parents and Google might feel like a decent way to answer questions, but a good childbirth education class can help pregnant women sort through conflicting or inaccurate information, and give them the tools they need to get the care they want. Lamaze certified childbirth educators (LCCE) have a stake in the expecting parents we teach, and it's our priority to help them achieve the safest, healthiest outcomes."
The value of childbirth education is backed by research: Lamaze's study of induction practices shows that women who learn about the risks of induction are less likely to be induced without a medical reason.(3)
In addition to Push for Your Baby, Lamaze offers a newly revamped website (www.lamaze.org) with a focus on expecting parents, and a separate site dedicated to supporting Lamaze educators (www.lamazeinternational.org). The new parents' site features the Push for Your Baby campaign resources, a social media interface, a video library, tips for expecting parents and evidence-backed information about maternity care from pregnancy through birth.
To watch the Push for Your Baby virtual launch briefing, click here: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/replay_meeting/pushforyourbaby/2377401.
About Push for Your Baby
Push for Your Baby was created by Lamaze International to provide expectant parents with the support and information needed to push for the safest, healthiest birth possible. Knowing how to spot good maternity care is the key to getting it, and through Lamaze childbirth education classes, parents-to-be can get the tools needed to have the best birth day. For more information visit: www.PushForYourBaby.com.
About Lamaze International
Lamaze International promotes a natural, healthy and safe approach to pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting practices. Knowing that pregnancy and childbirth can be demanding on a woman's body and mind, Lamaze serves as a resource for information about what to expect and what choices are available during the childbearing years. Lamaze education and practices are based on the best and most current medical evidence available. Working closely with their families, health care providers and Lamaze educators, millions of pregnant women have achieved their desired childbirth outcomes using Lamaze practices. The best way to learn about Lamaze's steps to a safe and healthy birth is to take a class with a Lamaze certified instructor. To find classes in your area, or for more information visit www.lamaze.org.
(1) Frosch, D., et. al. Authoritarian Physicians And Patients' Fear Of Being Labeled 'Difficult' Among Key Obstacles To Shared Decision Making. Health Affairs. May 2012. Available online: http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/31/5/1030.abstract.
(2) "Listening to Mothers II Report." Childbirth Connection. 2006. Available online: http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10396. Accessed 4/16/2012.
(3) Simpson, K., et al. The Journal of Perinatal Education. 2010;19(3), 21–32.
SOURCE Lamaze International