2009 Cesarean Statistics: What’s Happening in the Lehigh Valley (1 of 4)

Early in my career in childbirth, I could expect to see the previous year’s release of “vital” birth statistics show up on the PA Department of Health website by July or August. In past years for some reason the release of this data has gotten slower and slower. You may recall that the data for 2008 was released just before Christmas 2009.

Well the 2009 data was not quite so prompt. I waited for it not so patiently. I finally decided about 2 weeks ago while looking for the data late in the evening that I would call the Department of Health–but obviously I couldn’t call right then. When I did call, I was told that it was just put on the website the previous day. Amazingly, it had been—I just had kept the webpage open on my computer for several days before I remembered to call, and had not refreshed it. I did ask the representative I spoke with why it was taking so long to publish data, and all she could tell me was what I was told a few years ago—“improvements” with the birth certificate in 2003 have changed how data is collected. Hmmm…interesting “improvements.”

Well, with no further ado, here is the beginning of my evaluation of the 2009 data. Continue Reading…

Posted 4 years, 10 months ago at 2:44 am.


Speaking of “Rites of Passage”

The Birth Activist recently wrote about restrictions of food and fluids for laboring and women, and how Robbie Davis-Floyd has written about this phenomenon as a “rite of passage.”  The Birth Activist highlighted a recent Cochrane Review that found that food/fluid restrictions in labor are unnecessary, something I agree with whole heartedly, having eatten a VERY large breakfast more than 12 hours after contractions had started in my first labor.  She then points out that Robbie Davis-Floyd has long identified the ban on eating/drinking in labor as a “rite of passage.”

Speaking of “rites of passage,” what is with making the dad put on scrubs before he can go with his wife to the OR? She wears the same hospital gown into the OR that she’s been wearing for hours in labor…but he needs to put on scrubs. As a doula, when I’m allowed to go in, I’m given a set of hospital scrubs to put on…even though I’m already wearing my own scrubs. I’ve never argued it because it just doesn’t seem worth the ill will…but really, what is the point?

I understand why the medical staff wear scrubs– Continue Reading…

Posted 6 years ago at 12:46 am.


Movie Review: Pregnant in America

As a doula, childbirth educator, and low intervention birth advocate, I had looked forward to the release of this movie with high hopes.

The film style was clearly directly copied from Michael Moore’s style without any attempt to express this filmmaker’s own style. Mr. Buonaugurio has passion, and he is right that many people are left in the dark when it comes to childbirth practices in America.   But he offered very little in the way of HOPE for people. Continue Reading…

Posted 6 years, 1 month ago at 12:44 am.

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2008 Cesarean Statistics in PA: Primary Cesarean Rates (4 of 4)

In all the flurry about VBAC access and VBAC bans, sometimes the “primary” cesarean rate can get lost in the shuffle.  I think the primary cesarean rate is the most misunderstood of all the cesarean statistics.  I see the media mis-define it over and over, and even occassionally I see medical professionals misdefine it.

And yet, because a primary cesarean, is, by definition, the first cesarean a woman has, it may be, perhaps, her most important.  Because it is the one that forever labels her as high risk in future pregnancies.  As Joy Szabo and many women like her have found, having a vaginal birth after the cesarean, even having multiple vaginal births in ones history, does not erase the scarlet letter that a woman “earns” when she has that primary cesarean. Continue Reading…

Posted 6 years, 1 month ago at 11:30 pm.


2008 Cesarean Statistics in PA: VBAC Bans (3 of 4)

On the topic of VBAC bans, 19 hospitals in PA reported having “De Facto” bans (D), while 5 reported having “official” bans (B) in the survey done by ICAN in early 2009.  Oddly, 2 of the hospitals reported to have a VBAC ban have VBAC rates over 10%–12.2% at Bloomsburg Hospital in Cambria County, and 14% at St Joseph Medical Center a bit closer to me in Reading, Berks County.  I have to wonder if in each of these cases, the person who was answering the ICAN caller was simply unaware of what the policy was?  Continue Reading…

Posted 6 years, 1 month ago at 7:30 pm.

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2008 Cesarean Statistics in PA: VBAC Rates (2 of 4)

After publishing my initial post about the cesarean stats in PA, focussing on the Lehigh Valley, my goal was to continue on with an analysis of the whole state.  Jill at The Unnecessarean “scooped” me slightly by posting the cesarean rate for all hospitals in PA, but I don’t mind.  Thank you Jill, for jumping on board!  The more voices, the merrier!  Well…maybe not “merrier” on this topic…but we definitely need as many voices as possible if we want positive change.

I’m going to present a bit more analysis though still.  I hope this is helpful for someone! Continue Reading…

Posted 6 years, 1 month ago at 7:05 pm.


2008 PA Cesarean Statistics are Now Available! (1 of 4)

In an early Christmas present, the PA Department of Health has released birth data for 2008, including cesarean statistics by hospital.

The cesarean rate in PA in 2008 rose just under 3% over 2007, going from 30.05% to 30.86%.  Most likely this will still keep us under the national average…but just barely.  The VBAC rate dropped from 13.8% to 13.3%.  

Looking more local to the Lehigh Valley, some of the results are very sobering.  Overall, the combined data for the 5 hospitals in the Lehigh Valley with maternity units saw their cesarean rate Continue Reading…

Posted 6 years, 1 month ago at 12:43 am.


Is ICAN Under Stating How Bad the Cesarean Epidemic is?

The work that is done by the International Cesarean Awareness Network, or “ICAN” is important and worthwhile.  My hat is off to all the women who are part of this organization.  I actually had the opportunity just this morning to be a guest at the Lehigh Valley ICAN group meeting, and am immensly pleased that someone has finally stepped forward to form a group in this area. Continue Reading…

Posted 6 years, 3 months ago at 2:30 pm.


“Spa-like atmosphere”

The Morning Call has a new parenting blog which has had some interesting posts.  A recent one though, I found to be mildly amusing.  The post, which I’d say is little more than an advertisement, gushes with enthusiasm about the new maternity unit opening at Grandview Hospital which is supposedly “spa like.”  Actually, I discovered that some of the text of the blog post is lifted directly from the hospital website–without acknowledgment. Continue Reading…

Posted 6 years, 5 months ago at 4:34 pm.


“Health” magazine is looking to interview moms who have had cesareans

Health magazine wants to interview mothers who

  • Had a C-section that wasn’t 100% medically required.
  • Felt their OB-GYN or care provider railroaded them into getting a C-section.
  • Are OB-GYNs who scheduled a c-section for themselves.

If this sounds like you, e-mail stephanie_wu@health.com immediately, to set up a phone interview before Friday, August 28. Thanks!

Posted 6 years, 5 months ago at 9:47 am.

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