My Response to Lowering the Cesarean Rate in NJ

My Response to Lowering the Cesarean Rate in NJ

Have you seen the article “What’s behind N.J.’s high rate of C-sections?”originally written for NorthJersey.com?  The article is a very important read if you are planning to have a baby in the state of NJ. Statistically speaking, New Jersey is one of the worst places to have a baby if you hope to avoid an unnecessary c-section. I have been a doula of almost 7 years; and, prior to that, a PCT/CNA in one of the hospitals named with high c-section rates in NJ, shamefully. I have been speaking unabashedly for a long time about NJ hospital protocols and cesarean rates with my private clients and in my classes with due respect for all care providers and hospitals since 2005. I had my first baby 11 years ago and was threatened with a cesarean birth if I did not “show progress” in 12 or so hours, meaning I wasn’t fully dilated and ready to push my baby out in the number of hours the hospital dictated in protocol, I was heading into the OR. I knew better, even then, luckily.

The average length of labor for a first time mother is 24 hours, the same amount of hours the hospital protocol is set for before turning to cesarean delivery. Sure there are risks to being in labor for more than 24 hours and perhaps in some cases, intervention is welcome in such circumstances. We get that, even as doulas at Bend & Blossom.  Sometimes a surgical birth is necessary and can be lifesaving. But not in all cases. Some women and some babies just need more time.

The article I’m responding to today basically sums up the fact that we have a long way to go, NJ and doctors agree!! As a doula, I see a lot… sometimes on some days, more than I want to. If you know me or you have had the chance to have me at your birth, you know that I have unique understanding of the medical side of things given my education and background, and so do the doulas who work with Bend & Blossom–we are quite the unique bunch with a unique mix of history.

Today’s blog comes from the serious me, so please listen up because if you are having a baby in NJ, it’s time to take this information that I am about to say for REAL! I am not saying any of this lighthearted with that green smoothie in my hand and the F word behind my teeth, I won’t today. Although, F*** is on the tip of my tongue when it comes to unnecessary Cesarean or Surgical Birth! There, I got it out.

So listen up if you want to have a vaginal birth… with an epidural or not. Here are my 5 Easy Tips for Avoiding a C-Section in New Jersey. It’s actually simpler than you think–it’s all about the support and education. And, of course, ask our clients and see their posts/comments on our Facebook.

1. Look at the Data. Here in the article from NorthJersey.com on the High Rate of Cesareans in NJ, see where your hospital measures up in comparison to the other NJ hospitals. Remember, it isn’t always about your doctor, it’s about the hospital your doctor works for. Your doctor’s goal is to stay below the state norm but that is not always easy to do in the hospital they are affiliated with.

2. Listen for Protocols. Ask questions of friends and local doulas for trends in “rules” for laboring. How long can you be in labor? What are the risks of being in labor too long? Ask friends how their births went at the same hospital and why their birth may not have gone as planned. Local doulas see the trends of many clients and many births, and doulas are not typically employed by the hospitals or by the doctor offices so they can give their unbiased opinions. Beware of the doulas who are employed by a doctor or hospital because they are usually held to certain rules themselves.

3. Take a Birth Class Outside the Hospital. The childbirth classes at the hospital are very basic and really don’t teach you everything you need to know about having a baby and having a baby in the state of NJ. A birth class at Bend & Blossom, will teach you everything you need to know and more about the truth about having a baby, including the political dilemmas of birthing in NJ and much more. We will discuss all of your options in having a baby. We don’t have any protocols to address in order to help you be a good patient and birth is way more than which door to enter when you are in labor. (Yes, you will still learn that!). You will learn protocols and what questions to ask to be sure that the care you are receiving is within YOUR best interest. Who wouldn’t want that?

4. Choose the RIGHT Care Provider and the RIGHT Birth Location. Your experience of birth matters! You will remember this event for the rest of your life. As I have said on my podcast with friend, Dr. Kyle in our episode on Building Your Birth Team, your team will be the narrator of your story in your mind forever. When you look at the statistics, the writing about being pregnant in NJ is on the wall, my friend! It really, really is! Ask us if you aren’t sure! Schedule a FREE chat with a doula to get the skinny on your doctor or hospital–we don’t keep the facts a secret!

5. Hire a Doula. ACOG is the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the governing body of OB/GYN. Only a couple of years ago, ACOG published a ground-breaking  statement that in order to lower the unnecessary c-section rate, they said “HIRE A DOULA!”. ACOG recommended hiring a third party not affiliated with the hospital, your doctor, or your family. Therefore, a third party with no emotional attachment to you—so not your mother or your sister, not matter how many babies she has birthed. ACOG sees the importance of a third party who is familiar with the birth process but knows the protocols of the hospitals and when cesarean is imminent.

Not only because I am a doula and believe in the difference a doula makes, I say HIRE A DOULA! More importantly, hire a well-trained and an experienced doula. Really, I mean it from the bottom of my being! Just do it!

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