Improving Birth National Rally…Wow!

So, when I first heard of, I had no idea who they were or what they stood for. I received a few emails about this rally they were doing. I went to look at their Facebook page and saw they had about 900 ‘likes’. I thought, “How in  the world are they putting on a national rally with that few people?”

Then, a personal friend of mine told me she was hosting one in her area. Huh. OK, let me check this out more. I went to their website, watched their video and thought, “I can get behind this.”

It was…was refreshing. It pumped me up and reaffirmed why I do what I do. No political correctness and no apologizing for taking a stand. Ya, I can get behind that.

Now, rally locations are turning up everywhere…all on Labor Day, September 3rd, 2012. I see people and pages posting about it all over Facebook. It’s clearly contagious. Why?

First, it’s not a protest. It’s a way for women who want to see change in our maternal healthcare change. It’s a rally in support of evidence based care.

“Improving Birth was founded with the vision of encouraging hospital administrators to review their birth-specific policies and procedures. We ask that they implement incentive programs for doctors and nurses to get up-to-date information and education about the most current care practices. The U.S. outspends every country in the world for maternity care, and yet we rank #49 for maternal mortality rates. In fact, Amnesty International reports that ‘women in the US face a greater risk of maternal death than nearly all European countries, as well as Canada and several countries in Asia and the Middle East’.”

I am going to tell you why this is so important. When options are taken away from women, they have to find ways to birth how they feel is best. They have to find a way to be heard. By taking away choices, such as breech birth attended by a skilled provider or a VBAC or water birth in the hospital, women have fewer options. Sometimes this means birthing with a care provider who causes a traumatizing birth, or birthing with an unskilled midwife (we don’t all have access to great midwifery care) or even birthing unassisted at home when the mother otherwise wouldn’t. I’ve had an unassisted birth, so it’s not that I don’t support home birth or UC, but not when it’s because a woman doesn’t feel like she has any other choices! Hospitals are pushing women away and the women they are caring for, they are doing a subpar job (most of the time). THIS has to change and only the consumer, US, can change it!

I love that Improving Birth is doing just this. Telling women to take a stand, bring them together to have a united, louder voice and going straight to the source and trying to work WITH hospitals to make this all happen (more here).

So find a rally in your area and attend on Labor Day, September 3rd, 2012! If you wonder what you can do to make a change, this is a great start. I’ll be attending one local to me!

*Thank you to Ruthie and Birth Blessings Photography for the image.


  • thefullmontessori

    Thank you so much for posting this! I went to their map and they have one in my city, so I’ve volunteered to make posters and I’m going to be so excited to attend the rally!!! This is awesome and soooooo needed!!

  • Kathy

    I was very excited about the concept of bringing these issues to light in a public way. However, after seeing the signs from one rally and the suggested sign phrases that were posted on my local rally’s FB page, I have concerns about the message being sent, especially at the hospital chosen.

    I’m not so sure people who don’t see the site are going to get the distinction that they are attempting to make between a “rally” and a “protest.” I myself do not see a clear delineation between the two (given the sign messaging I saw.) They really look a whole like protest signs to me.

    The hospital chosen for my area actually has a very good reputation for maternity care. My homebirth midwife’s backup OB is employed there and they have a fabulous birth center. If I was Joe Schmoe just walking by reading those signs, I think it would look like picketing. In my opinion, the signage I’ve seen suggested would be more appropriate in front of a hospital without such a good reputation…and there are several in our area. I’m not sure I will be comfortable doing what appears to be protesting (despite the messaging behind the scenes claiming otherwise) one of the good hospitals that exist.

    The organizer has stated that the hospital in question was chosen to highlight their positive work. However, I’ve heard through the grapevine that there are those within the hospital who strongly feel that the hospital will see this as a protest, not a “rally.” Seeing the signage I saw, and reading the suggested sign slogans, I can’t say that I would disagree with them.

    I am less and less inclined to take part in this…maybe if I knew someone from the hospital was involved and participating it would make a difference.

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