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The Need for Child Birth Education

Posted Dec 22 2009 7:24am
I am amazed at the amount of people who do no take the time to take a child birth education class, and this was really confirmed by a piece Amy Romano from Science & Sensibility wrote yesterday. After reviewing the results from a survery, in which pregnant women and new mothers were interviewed about certain pregnancy related questions, I was astounded at the amount of women who thought a full term pregnancy was 34-36 weeks gestation, and on top of that many of them thought their baby could be born during that time with no health effects!!

Researchers asked the mothers, “At what gestational age do you believe the baby is considered full term?” Nearly one in four (24%) chose 34–36 weeks, half chose 37–38 weeks, and the remaining quarter chose 39–40. Researchers also asked, “What is the earliest point in the pregnancy that it is safe to deliver the baby, should there be no other medical complications requiring early delivery?” More than half (52%) of the new mothers chose 34 to 36 weeks, while fewer than 10% chose 39–40 weeks. For neither question did women’s responses vary significantly by age, ethnicity, marital status, education, region of the country, or income.

Now I have to stop and think that the women who did take child birth education courses probably took one of those one day, in hospital type courses which all-in-all teach women to be good patients more than anything, as well as familiarize themselves with that specific hospitals policies.

When I was pregnant with my second child and planning a VBAC, I found a local hospital here who offered a "VBAC Class" once a month. I called in attempt to sign up for it, but because I was not planning on delivering at that specific hospital, I was not allowed to sign up for the course. Come to find out at a later date, that hospital had a 0% VBAC rate for 2007. Sounds like a place that should be teaching a VBAC class right?

Amy then went on to further look at the research.....

The researchers did not report which women took childbirth education classes and whether responses were more accurate among women who did. But another research team has reported that childbirth classes that include specific content focusing on risks of elective induction are effective at reducing demand for such inductions. Now that hospitals face Joint Commission core quality measures for perinatal care that include refraining from elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks, the results of UnitedHealthcare’s survey strongly suggest that educating women about the risks of cutting a healthy pregnancy short will play an important role in helping hospitals comply.

I am very interested in the next calendar year of 2010, what kind of changes hospitals are going to start to make in response to the new recommendations surrounding inductions for non medical reasons. Because it is clear by the number of births taking place Monday through Friday, with a peak on Tuesdays, and the amount of babies being born in the days directly before Holidays that not all labor inductions and scheduled cesarean sections are being done for medical reasons, instead for convenience sake. On top of that, mothers are also taking advantage of the Doctors who will take part in these kinds of practices. What happened to babies coming when they were ready? Has anyone ever remained pregnant forever?
What would happen if we started letting babies really come when they were ready? Would our prematurity rate drop? Or maybe our infant and maternal mortality rates would also start to decrease to a more acceptable number especially when compared to other Industrialized nations around the world.

But this has only shown the importance of women becoming educated during their pregnancies, and not just by these crappy best selling pregnancy books.
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