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 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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