We have the Labor Movement to thank for this day off work. According to the United States Labor Department, “It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
Mother’s make such contributions, as well as union workers. We labor to deliver babies; we labor to raise families. Yet, we have one of the worst maternal death rates in the world, and it’s rising.
Today marks the first National Rally for Change in 45 states. PR Newswire explains:
Called “the largest women’s rights issues in decades,” women will gather simultaneously across the country this Labor Day to bring attention to the need for informed birth choices, evidence based practice, and humanity in American maternity care…
Despite outspending every other country in the world in maternity care, the U.S. lags behind 49 industrialized nations in maternal survival rates. Surgical Cesarean sections, which can lead to long-term negative health consequences for women and infants, are performed at one out of three births (http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10166). The driving forces behind high surgical Cesarean section rates are a medical labor induction rate of 34% and a 7% rate of vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC)(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2947574/). Although the National Institutes of Health states that VBAC is a reasonable option for most women (http://consensus.nih.gov/2010/vbacstatement.htm), more than half of women who desire a VBAC cannot find supportive care. The result, according to Amnesty International:“women in the U.S. 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.”
“This is a major women’s health issue. We now have a culture of highly medicalized birth where unnecessary, non-evidence based procedures can harm a normal physiological process—putting women and infants at higher risk for poor outcomes,” said Dawn Thompson, founder of nonprofit ImprovingBirth.org and event organizer. “We are asking providers and hospital administrators to work with us to save lives and improve outcomes by basing care of women and babies on the best evidence and research.”
Instead of being a day of sales, let’s remember the labor of women and the increased risks they take delivering in the modern world. It is shameful and scary.