API's response to recent statement of the Ethics committee of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
This is a call to action from API Headquarters:
Mothers and Fathers, the evidence that you can expect excellent, unbiased and thoroughly researched information from the American Collegeof Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is at an all time low. With cesarean rates soaring in this country at over 26 percent (in 1970 the rate was 5.5 percent), we now hear from ACOG that in their view, not only is this rate acceptable, but that elective Cesarean section surgery is now being debatedas a viable alternative to vaginal delivery.Although ACOG states that, "both sides to this debate must recognize that evidence to support the benefit of elective cesarean is still incomplete,” their statement further asserts that, "if the physician believes that cesarean delivery promotes the overall health and welfare of the woman and her fetus more than does vaginal birth, then he or she is ethically justified in performing a cesarean delivery." This is a far cry from the prevailing justification for cesarean, "an immediate and compelling medical need."
Here is a link to the statement from ACOG.
The research about the risks of cesarean delivery is abundant and has been around for decades. Here are a few examples:
Compared to a vaginal delivery:
- Women run 5 to 7 times the risk of death with c-sections.
- Twice as many women require rehospitalization after a c-section.
- Reproductive consequences include increased infertility, miscarriage and placenta previa.
- Babies born after elective c-sections are: more than four times likely to develop life threatening persistent pulmonary hypertension.
- They are 50% more likely to have low Apgar scores.
- 5 times more likely to require assistance with breathing.
- 5 times more likely to be admitted to intermediate or intensive care.
This is a very small sample of the research that is out there.
API has gathered much information and resources for parents who would like to respond to this issue in their own communities or join the national dialogue. We are providing links to organizations who specialize in educating parents on the dangers of elective cesarean births, to medical professionals who have been on the leading edge of educating the public about this dangerous trend, and to the written statements of API Advisory Board members in support of our grave concerns. We are asking our API groups to discuss this issue and become advocates for parents and babies in your local communities.Empowerment and information are powerful tools, and change will only come when parents rise up and demand ethical and honest information from their physicians.We are committed that the new millennium bring a rebirth of the previous generation's demand for change, a movement that resulted in mothers reclaiming their right to deliver their babies in the most natural, gentle, and spiritual ways.Breastfeeding was almost extinguished in this country a few short years ago, yet mothers united to form La Leche League groups all over the world and reversed the trend towards bottle feeding.We are at another crossroads. Let's continue to be diligent in creating a safe, loving, welcoming world for our precious babies.
You can address your concerns about the ACOG Statement of Elective Cesarean Sections here:
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street, SW
PO Box 96920
Washington, DC 20090-6920