Return Patient Choice to Women Attempting VBAC in NC
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Dear Members of the Board,
Last week a decision made by the board eliminated the option for mothers who wanted to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) in the only birth center statewide that was still providing care to these patients. Compared to the nation as a whole, we were fortunate in our state to be able to exercise patient choice and were free to select our birth place for our children. There are hospitals in North Carolina that accept pregnant mothers who want a trial of labor after cesarean, but many of the physicians with birth privileges at these locations place restrictions on pregnant women that effectively prevent them from successfully delivering their subsequent children vaginally. In our state, there are options for women who want to VBAC, but now we have no patient choice as to where. We simply must subject ourselves to a hospital setting, even if we find this traumatic and unsettling, or we disagree with their standard procedures, such as continuous fetal monitoring. Natural Beginnings Birth and Wellness Center of Statesville is no longer able to provide a birth center experience for their current patients, or any future patients, as a result of the private action taken by the board against their supervising obstetrician.
Policies banning VBAC or that are unsupportive of it are out of sync with medical research. There is abundant peer-reviewed research showing that VBAC is a safe option for most women and their babies. Yet, practices by hospitals and physicians have driven the VBAC rate across the country to just barely over 10%. Research shows that the VBAC rate could be as high as 60-80% in a supportive, evidence-based environment. The rate of successful VBAC under midwife care with Natural Beginnings Birth and Wellness Center is 94%! They have a remarkably low rate of transfer, and have had no emergent transfers, and as outlined by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers, the midwives work seamlessly with Davis Regional Hospital in the event a transfer becomes necessary. This collaboration ensures that mother and baby will have the best possible outcome, should a medical emergency were to arise.
Above all, it is unacceptable to force women to undergo the labor and birth process in a place not of their choosing. Refusing to offer women the opportunity to VBAC at the birth center violates the well-established practice of informed consent and refusal. Misleading women as to the safety of VBAC in a birth center is both unethical and immoral.
I am asking you to consider the healthcare rights that the women of North Carolina deserve and how the recent action of the board has taken away patient choice for nearly 30% of the women in our state. Please look into the safe practice of VBACs being performed under midwife care and see for yourself the phenomenal results Natural Beginnings Birth and Wellness Center is producing! I hope you will hear our request to overturn this ruling. Their statistics alone are proof that the midwifery model of care partnered with the use of places like birth centers provide what women want and need when they go for a trial of labor after caesarean. I implore you to please use your position to advocate for patient’s choice and uphold the value of evidence based cared for birth across North Carolina.
I look forward to your response. Thank you for your time and consideration.
*Photo credit to SVM Photography: https://www.facebook.com/svmphotography1/
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