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Natural Birth Effort Holds St. Louis Rally; Dozens Demonstrate at Mercy Medical

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Chad Garrison
Sure, the girl's sign is upside down, but OMG what a little cutie!
It's known locally as the "Baby Factory" for the number of women who choose to have their children there. Yesterday morning Mercy Hospital St. Louis (known until last year as St. John's Mercy Medical) was also ground zero for a rally intended to raise awareness about modern-day delivery practices.

Some 100 people (made up of mothers, fathers and children) stood along Ballas Road in front of the hospital carrying signs and banners that read: Birth Matters, Lower the C-Section Rate and We Love Progressive OBs and Nurses.

"We're hearing more and more stories from mothers who say they felt pressured into being induced and having a Cesarian," stated Hollie Silberhorn, an organizer with the national effort improvingbirth.org that held similar demonstrations in 110 cities yesterday.

It's no coincidence the group chose Labor Day.

"Today one in three births in the United States is surgical -- up from around 20 percent just sixteen years ago," said Silberhorn. "And the question is why? Have women's bodies fundamentally changed? Or is it just a matter of convenience? And for whom, the women or the doctors?"

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Of particular concern to the group is the dismal number of vaginal births after Cesarian (known as "VBAC") in Missouri. Nationally, just seven percent of mothers who have Cesarian births for their first child have vaginal births with additional children. In Missouri, that figure is even lower at one percent, according to Silberhorn. Meanwhile, studies have shown that having a vaginal birth following a Cesarian is a safe option for most women.

The group chose to rally outside of Mercy Hospital St. Louis because the facility is so popular with expectant mothers.

"Mercy has room to grow," said Silberhorn, "and we encourage them in the walk toward evidenced-based practices for births."


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9 comments
Sarah Warren
Sarah Warren

BTW, it was at Mercy (then St John's) that this happened...same thing with my sister. We now refuse to have our children there. My successful VBAC was at St Clare's in Fenton and they were wonderful and supportive of mobility and natural birth!

Hollie Silberhorn
Hollie Silberhorn

Wow Sarah. What a story. I am so sorry you had to go through all of that. It just should not be so. Thank you for sharing your story. It is for you that we rally.

Sarah Warren
Sarah Warren

With my first, I was pressured to be induced, was in labor for hours, and after pushing for 2 hours and not allowed to get out of bed I was pressured into a c-section. I was on pain meds for weeks and had a hard time getting up and around and difficulty in nursing. With my second, i was told that if I went into labor by 39 weeks I would be allowed to have a trial of labor, but she recommended against it since it would probably turn into another c-section anyway since I obviously didn't have room for a baby to get out the first time, so why would it be any different the second time. Again, a c-section, over a day before I could get out of bed, pain, meds, difficulty in caring for my firstborn post-op, etc. With my 3rd, I fired that OB and found a VBAC supporting OB and we discussed everything. He looked at my charts and saw no reason for either of my surgeries. We had a plan for if my labor still turned into a c-section it would be mommy and baby friendly and as relaxed as possible. But there was no need. My water broke on it's own. I labored for a few hours at home, a few hours at the hospital. My doctor didn't force me into a bed, so everything was quick. My baby was born after 3 pushes and I got to hold him immediately. 30 minutes after he was born I was eating a donut...with my surgeries I didn't get to eat until 24hrs post-op. 1 hr later I was up taking a shower...with my surgeries I was getting help to walk 12-24 hrs later and finally got to shower around 36 hrs post-op. OBs push the "convenience and timing" of inductions and c-sections, but they don't tell you about the restrictions, the post-op pain, the true nature of complications, etc. I learned through experience that the few hours of intensity without meds was so much better than the weeks of surgical pain and restrictions following. I may be willing to try out an epidural in the future, but I truly think that labor goes so much faster if you are not restricted to a bed the way you are with an epidural. Yes, some women have days of labor, but it is not intensely painful during most of it as the TV makes you believe. Yes, some women have painful long labors, some babies have complications requiring quick delivery, some mothers have special needs to require certain things, but most mothers are not told of the real risks, the complications, are pushed into things they don't want or not informed of their true options. This is what "evidence based birth" means. Women need to stop being pressured into things that are not best for them, especially for the convenience of the doctor. Medical costs are high enough!

Hollie Silberhorn
Hollie Silberhorn

We support birth choice. If a woman chooses to have a surgical birth after 39 weeks without a trial of labor, and she has been fully informed that all the evidence warns her of such a procedure, then ultimately it is her decision. The bigger problem, however, is women who did not prepare for nor want a surgical birth--they were in it for the 2 day labor and were excited to do so--and yet in the end felt manipulated, hopeless, scared or pushed to have one or other interventions. I heard this with almost every person I spoke with--"it was only after I recovered and thought about it all for a while, did some research that I found out I wasn't fully informed and could have taken a different road." With the nasty new strains of drug-resistant viruses, it should stay everyone's hand to avoid major abdominal surgery.

Hollie Silberhorn
Hollie Silberhorn

Actually John, historically, women died because of infection, not because of CPD.

John Prophet
John Prophet

Not to mention that the large brain that we have EVOLVED makes it hard on mamas who have to squeeze that big old skull out of their birth canals. Historically, many women died in childbirth for this very reason.

Stacey Barbeau
Stacey Barbeau

Who wants to be in labor for 2 days when you can have it in an hour.

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