Improving Birth rally

Improving Birth rally participants, from left to right: Catherine Powers, Director of Nursing Administration at CHOMP; Carol Jungwirth, co-chair of the Monterey County Birth Network; Dr. Jennifer Zeidberg; and Dr. Peter Chandler, director of obstetrics and gynecology services at Natividad Medical Center.

Last Saturday morning, a group of about two dozen people—including parents, kids, doctors and doulas—rallied at Window on the Bay Park in Monterey for the third annual Rally to Improve Birth, an event spanning 115 locations nationwide.
 
Their goal: to pressure local hospitals to be more accountable when it comes to maternal health care. 
 
"Our message isn’t about natural birth versus medicated birth. It’s not about hospital birth versus homebirth or birth-center birth," Improving Birth representative Wendy Root Askew writes by email.
 
"It’s about women being capable of making safer, more informed decisions about their care and that of their babies, when they are given full and accurate information about their care options, including the potential harms, benefits, and alternatives. It’s about respect for women and their decisions in childbirth, including how, where and with whom they give birth; and the right to be treated with dignity and compassion."
 
Two obstetricians joined the rally: Dr. Peter Chandler, director of obstetrics and gynecology services at Natividad Medical Center; and Dr. Jennifer Zeidberg, who delivers at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.
 
"They are working to implement change from the inside, and encouraging us consumers to continue advocating for change from the outside," Root Askew writes.
 
Improving Birth and its partners are asking local hospitals to compare their own procedures, protocols and physician practices with national guidelines for avoiding unnecessary cesarean deliveries and other interventions.

Three of Monterey County's four hospitals prohibit vaginal births for women who have had previous cesarean deliveries. Vaginal births after cesarean, or VBACs, are only permitted at Natividad

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