Give birth to the largest women’s rights movement in decades!
ImprovingBirth.org is calling upon mothers, birth professionals, health professionals, activists, supporters, families and friends and anyone interested in improving birth in the United State to rally together on Monday, September 3rd from 10 a.m. to 12 Noon in order to raise awareness and promote the normalcy and power of birth. The South Florida event joins 86 U.S. cities and counting who are organizing the awareness rally including New York City, Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The event will take place in the heart of Miami’s Downtown at Bayfront Park.
Why is this event important in Miami?
Improving Birth aims at working together to reduce the unnecessary induction and unnecessary c-section rates in the United States.
As of last year, the state of Florida held quite a dubious record: the highest Caesarean rate in the country. In Florida, however, there is no city that has a higher C-section rate than Miami.
In all of Florida, Miami has the highest number of hospitals that are delivering more babies via C-section than natural deliveries.
Reproductive justice advocates and some public health professionals have been wary of the rising rate of C-sections, or Caesarean sections, in the U.S.; many advocates, researchers and doctors claim the rate increase is a sign of trouble.
According to a recent HealthGrades Obstetrics and Gynecology in American Hospitals report, Florida’s C-section rate was 38.6 percent in 2010 — the highest in the nation. The lowest rate belonged to Utah, which had a 22.4 percent C-section rate. The national C-section rate between 2002 and 2009 rose from 27 percent of all single births to 34 percent.
HealthGrades says this “an all time high.”
According to information provided and certified by the Agency for Health Care Administration’s Florida Center for Health Information and Policy Analysis, five hospitals in Miami alone reported a C-section rate higher than 50 percent. That means multiple hospitals in Miami are currently performing more Caesarians than natural child births. Miami is leading the nation in Caesarian sections.
World Health Organization weighs in.
Recent studies reaffirm earlier World Health Organization recommendations about optimal cesarean section rates. The best outcomes for mothers and babies appear to occur with cesarean section rates of 5 percent to 10 percent, which fall within the medically necessary range. Rates above 15 percent seem to do more harm than good.
Right now there is no bigger cause for concern than Miami.
Miami, alone, accounted for six out of the seven hospitals in Florida with a C-section rate of over 50 percent, according to data from the Agency for Health Care Administration.
In 2010, South Miami Hospital reported a 62 percent C-section rate. Behind South Miami, Kendall Regional Medical Center reported a 59 percent rate, Mercy Hospital also reported 59 percent, Jackson Memorial reported 57 percent, Hialeah Hospital reported a 56 percent rate and Mount Sinai Hospital reported a 52 percent C-section rate. With the exception of Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, each of the state’s hospitals performing over 50 percent of deliveries via C-section were located in the Miami-Dade area.
According to South Florida Parenting, from 2009 to 2010, Kendall Regional Medical Center reported a 70 percent C-section rate, one of the highest rates seen in the state.
Manuel Fermin, the CEO of the Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade, says hospitals in Miami that report these types of numbers are not looking out for women. He says that doctors and hospitals can end up making more money from C-sections, as compared to vaginal births. Coupled with decreased risk, C-sections are better for hospitals’ bottom line.
“Here in Miami, this has become a business,” Fermin says.”It is so out of whack it’s scary. You don’t find this anywhere else in the U.S.”
However, Dr. Aaron Elkin, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, says it is not that simple.
First, he explains, there is little difference in the cost of C-sections and vaginal births. While C-sections require the cost of surgery, vaginal births rack up costs in the long monitoring process. The equipment and the presence of nurses for such a long period of time, Elkin explains, disproves the assertion the C-sections make more money for hospitals. While it may have been different in the past, he says it is no longer the case.
“We no longer get paid more for Caesareans,” he tells The Florida Independent. “The reimbursements from insurance and even Medicaid are the same.”
The biggest factor explaining the C-section rate in Miami, according to Elkin, is the rate of repeat C-sections.
He says that in Miami there is a high rate of immigrant women from South America who have elective C-sections. Because women can risk a uterine rupture by having a vaginal birth after a prior C-section, most doctors and patients decide together that another C-section is the best course of action.
Elkin says he agrees that 70 percent is a high number.
Other doctors have pointed to the fact that “obstetricians fear malpractice suits if mother or baby is injured during a protracted labor and delivery” and the rising health complications from the increase in obese mothers, according to reporting from St. Petersburg Times.
Either way, public health professionals such as Fermin says this is a growing problem in Miami-Dade that needs to be addressed.
ImprovingBirth.org insists that their intention is to create awareness on a national level and not protest individual hospitals as this is a growing national problem and not just attributed to one location.
-No inductions unless medically indicated.
-Interventions only when medically necessary.
-Movement and intermittent monitoring improve birth experience.
-Vaginal birth after Cesarean is possible.
-No inductions are needed for “big” babies.