Mothers look to stop rushed births at hospitals, save lives

Published: Sep. 1, 2014 at 11:54 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 11, 2014 at 11:48 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Whitney Hempsey remembered what doctors told her before she gave birth to her second child years ago.

"It's like, 'Hey, are you tired of being pregnant?" Hempsey recalled. "'We can give you this and you can have your baby.'"

Hempsey's labor was induced in the hospital, but it had an adverse effect on her.

"I really struggled with the feeling like I didn't give birth," Hempsey said. "Not going through the process. As a result, I had very severe postpartum depression."

Mothers at the Improving Birth Rally say it's that type of pressure to rush and schedule birth that is endangering lives.

"Unnecessary caesarians, unnecessary inductions," midwife Nicole Lavallee said. "it's huge. It's one of the reasons we have pre-term birth."

The World Health Organization says one in three American births are performed through C-section. That is more than double the highest recommended rate."

"In some hospitals in our state," Lavallee said, "it's about 65-70 percent or higher!"

However, there are those who side with the benefits of C-sections. Those in the medical industry argue that C-sections are not financially motivated and are ordered if and when the safety of the baby or mother is in jeopardy.

According to "Childbirth Connection," C-sections can be safer when babies are in breech position or if a woman is in labor for a long period of time. In many cases, taxpayers get the bill.

"Medicaid has made it very difficult for mothers to choose midwives," Lavallee said, "and it costs so much less to the state. When we're talking nationally that 52 percent of people are having their babies on Medicaid, we need to make that work."

Hempsey said she educated herself on her options and found what was right for her after three hospital births. It's something she hopes all women take the time to do.

"I definitely had to shift my whole perspective of child birth from "Panic! Emergency! Go to the hospital," Hempsey said, "to this really gentle, beautiful process where I was able to gently bring my children into the world."

Rally organizers said they've asked DHEC for a list of local hospital C-section rates, but they have been unable to get that number.

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