Evergreen Hospital: Protect Childbirth Options by Establishing a True Midwifery Practice.
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There is no longer any true midwifery practice delivering babies at Evergreen Hospital.
Until recently, women who give birth at Evergreen Hospital had the option to have a midwife from the Center for Women’s Health (CFWH) deliver their baby. Unfortunately, the CFWH (a private practice) has recently restructured. As of November 17th, there will only be two midwives who work in conjunction with obstetricians (OBs). A patient of the midwives is very likely to have an on-call OB deliver her baby. There is effectively no true midwifery option at Evergreen Hospital.
In fact, this option is no longer truly available to most women on Seattle's Eastside. The only true midwifery practice remaining in this region is through Group Health. Unless a woman carries that insurance, she must effectively chose between having an OB deliver her baby in a hospital or having a midwife deliver her baby at home or in a birth center. This is unacceptable! Families on Seattle’s Eastside are accustomed to world-class healthcare and a wealth of childbirth options. Evergreen Hospital can maintain these options by establishing a true midwifery practice at the hospital.
Midwives are a valuable alternative to giving birth with an OB.
Giving birth with a midwife is a valuable alternative to giving birth with an OB. Midwives generally schedule more time for prenatal appointments. They are generally on call for urgent, but non-emergency, after-hours questions and concerns and spend a great deal more time with their patients during labor and delivery. Most importantly, midwives have a significantly lower rate of cesarean sections than OBs. According to the Center for Disease Control, the national rate of cesarean births in 2008 (the last year for which final data is available) is a startling 32%. Preliminary data for 2009 shows a 29.2% rate of cesarean births in Washington State. Midwives, on the other hand, have a cesarean rate approximately 30% to 50% below the national average (depending on the source of information). Before restructuring, the midwives at the CFWH reported a low 15% cesarean rate for the year to date.
Fewer women will have the option to have a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean.
What's more, the midwives at the CFWH were one of the very few practices on Seattle’s Eastside that consistently supported a woman who wanted to deliver her child vaginally after a previous cesarean section (VBAC). Midwives also report a much higher rate of successful VBACs than OBs generally. Without a true midwifery practice at Evergreen, it is not clear that VBACs will be consistently available to women who deliver at Evergreen.
Evergreen Hospital can maintain our childbirth options.
Evergreen Hospital can solve this problem by establishing a true midwifery practice at Evergreen Hospital. In fact, Evergreen made significant moves in that direction before the plan was suddenly and unexpectedly dropped. We must tell Evergreen Hospital that this community values having a wide range of childbirth options.
Evergreen Hospital: Establish a true midwifery practice!
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