Chattanooga residents are using Labor Day to bring attention to maternity issues.
"What we are doing is advocating for evidence-based care and practices that are proven by science to be the best for moms and babies, not just those that are the standard of care," local resident Rachel Jimenez said.
Jimenez is one of the organizers of a local rally, which is one of 170 that will take place worldwide today. Click here for information about today's rally, which starts at 10 a.m.
Organizers of the 2013 Rally to Improve Birth want to "put women and babies before profits, convenience and liability concerns," according to a news release.
Jimenez said one example of maternity issues that needs attention is fetal monitoring. She said some women are monitored constantly and unnecessarily.
In 2009, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists announced revisions of the guidelines for fetal heart rate monitoring.
According to the organization, some types of fetal monitoring can reduce the risk of neonatal seizers, but there is an "unrealistic expectation" that monitoring can predict the risk of a baby being born with cerebral palsy.
The false positive rate for the most common type of fetal monitoring is greater than 99 percent, according to the organization.
"This means that out of 1,000 fetuses with nonreassuring readings, only one or two will actually develop cerebral palsy," according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists "The guidelines state that women in labor who have high-risk conditions such as preeclampsia, Type 1 diabetes or suspected fetal growth restriction should be monitored continuously during labor."
Another issue organizers want to bring attention to is cesarean sections.
Tennessee has a C-section rate of more than 30 percent. That's higher than what the World Health Organization recommends, which is 15 percent.
Local leaders said that the U.S. has the highest maternity care costs in the world and that it ranks 45th in maternal safety, according to data from the United Nations, which lists our nation’s maternal death rate as tied with that of Iran and Hungary.
Today, rally attendees call for maternity practices that put mothers and babies first, including obtaining fully informed consent, using medical interventions only when necessary and reducing the rate of cesarean sections, according to a news release.
Jimenez said that another issue she hopes to raise awareness about is that minorities are more likely to die during childbirth than other races.
According to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, minority women in the U.S. are more likely to die during or soon after childbirth than white women, Reuters reported.
The rallies and issues are being raised by ImprovingBirth.org, which is a national nonprofit advocacy organization by moms, for moms that is dedicated to evidence-based, humane maternity care.
"We also just want to make people aware that mothers have the right to make their own decisions about their care," Jimenez said. "A lot of people don't even understand that they have that right or that the information isn't being shared."
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