Have you heard about the Listening to Mother's surveys? In 2013 the third report was published, where over 1000 women in the United States were interviewed about their childbirth experience. This report gives a snapshot of the state of maternity care in the United States.
Some of the results are mind blowing! One of the most startling results was about women being told their baby would be "big" at the end of their pregnancy. In the shared decision making section, 32% of women reported they were told their baby may be big. The majority of these mother's said their practitioner brought up an induction (62%) and 44% reported a discussion about cesarean. In the end, the average size of the baby's actual birth weight was 7lbs 13oz.
Another startling response was that 47% of first time moms reported being induced. Almost half!
In teaching childbirth classes, there is often this disconnect where you sometimes feel like you are teaching women to fight for their rights. Many elements in this report underscore the importance of women learning to be advocates for their care. But is that fair? Should a woman in labor or at the end of her pregnancy be expected to stand her ground when it comes to unnecessary interventions, or rather should it be expected that she will be offered good quality care based on evidence and putting her first?
I encourage you to check out the results and consider the state of maternity care in the US.