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Recent Survey Shows Women Settling for Less; Major Issues Being Skipped in Conversations with Providers

The Local Chapter of the American College of Nurse Midwives Provides New Resources for New Orleans Women to Improve Maternity Care Conversations and Women’s Health Outcomes


New Orleans, LA -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/07/2012 -- New Orleans, Louisiana – Conversations about pregnancy and birth are happening virtually everywhere – mommy blogs, social media, television shows – but new data show that when women visit their health care provider, many important conversations simply aren’t happening.

A recent survey of women released by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) shows that major health issues are being overlooked and that women may be walking out of medical appointments without the information they need.

Of the women surveyed who have given birth or are pregnant, 62% said their care provider did not discuss how to stay healthy during their pregnancy, 80% said that preparing for motherhood was never discussed, and only about half said their provider spent a great deal of time with them throughout labor and birth. In Louisiana , trends seem to be following national statistics.

“At Woman to Woman Midwifery, our approach to women’s care is lifelong and individualized. We spend time understanding what is most important to each woman’s unique situation and work together to discuss possible health care options,” Esther Dejong a Certified Nurse Midwife in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Unfortunately, many women are settling for health care that is not what they’re looking for because they either don’t know they have a choice or don’t fully understand the issues facing them. Many say they are not getting the services they want and do not know where to find them.

The absence of important conversations with health care providers could be leading women down a path of less than optimal care. Yet, 60% said they would agree to an unnecessary cesarean and 90% would agree to have their labor induced, even if there was no medical reason. In Louisiana alone, according to National Statistics from US DHH, in 2010, cesarean rate in Louisiana was 39.7% as compared to Alaska at 22.6%.

“Evidence illustrates that childbirth interventions, like early labor inductions and cesarean sections, can result in a difficult labor and recovery for both women and their babies,” said Catherine Badeaux, CNM, who has been in the women’s health field for over 20 years. “Every woman wants the best for her baby, but it’s clear that women are not receiving enough information about the risks associated with medically unnecessary childbirth procedures.”

These findings beg the question: How can women receive the care that best fits their personal needs and preferences during pregnancy and childbirth?

Women and midwives are joining together in New Orleans as part of a new, national awareness effort to answer that question. Our Moment of Truth™: A New Understanding of Midwifery Care asks women to take a moment to examine the type of health care they are receiving, evaluate what they want from their health care experience, and ensure important conversations with their provider take place. This awareness initiative, being spearheaded in New Orleans by Woman to Woman Midwifery also encourages women to become aware of their full range of options by showing how midwives can address a range of women’s health needs.

“Persistent myths about midwives prevent women from seeing a provider who can give them the attentive care they say they want during pregnancy and childbirth,” said ACNM Executive Director Lorrie Kline Kaplan. “Women deserve a health care provider who presents different care options during pregnancy and birth, and who takes careful precautions to avoid unnecessary childbirth procedures that may inflict harm on them and their baby, but also uses them when they are medically necessary. Understanding these care options will allow women to play a more active role in their own health decisions and outcomes. The good news is, as more women learn about the high-quality care midwives provide, more women are turning to midwives as partners in their care.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that midwife-attended births are on the rise in the United States, reaching a record high of 8.4% in 2010. In some states, such as New Mexico, more than 1 in every 3 women are seeking the care of a midwife with 37.6% of vaginal births attended by midwives in 2010 .

As part of the new Our Moment of Truth™ initiative, ACNM helps New Orleans women to take charge of their health with the launch of a new series of tools that help women get the truth about what’s best for their bodies and their baby’s health. Visit http://www.ourmomentoftruth.com to learn more about how the high-quality care of a midwife can meet many of the desires women are looking for in their care. For more information about Certified Nurse Midwifery in your community, look to:

- Esther DeJong, CNM, Woman to Woman Midwifery, 504-272-0681
- Catherine Badeaux, CNM, Woman to Woman Midwifery, 504-272-0681
- Shannon Pfingstag, CNM at Woman to Woman Midwifery, 504-272-0681
- Mary Alice DeCoursey, CNM, 504-349-6207
- Margaret Tenneyson, CNM, 504-482-0084
- Andrea F. Jeanfreau, RN, MHA, Midwifery Information New Orleans, 504-782-8896

Survey Methodology
The Our Moment of Truth™ survey was fielded by Lightspeed Online Research, Inc. in August 2012. The survey was completed by 1,252 women between the ages 18 and 45, of a variety of cultural backgrounds, from across the United States. The survey, consisting of 23 questions, was fielded through the SurveyMonkey online platform.

About Our Moment of Truth™: A New Understanding of Midwifery Care
Our Moment of Truth™: A New Understanding of Midwifery Care presents midwifery as a solution for many women who are looking for more out of their care. Recognizing that many women are not receiving the care they desire, Our Moment of Truth™ challenges women to take a moment to examine the type of health care they are receiving, evaluate what they want from their health care experience, and become aware of their full range of options. Our Moment of Truth™ offers women the information and tools they need to ask the right questions of their provider and have an important dialogue on critical health issues before moving forward with a care plan. Explore the new Our Moment of Truth™ tools and resources for finding desired health care at http://www.ourmomentoftruth.com.

About the American College of Nurse-Midwives
The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) is the professional association that represents certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and certified midwives (CMs) in the United States. ACNM promotes excellence in midwifery education, clinical practice, and research. With roots dating to 1929, our members are primary care providers for women throughout the lifespan, with a special emphasis on pregnancy, childbirth, and gynecologic and reproductive health. ACNM provides research, administers and promotes continuing education programs, establishes clinical practice standards, and creates liaisons with state and federal agencies and members of Congress to increase the visibility and recognition of midwifery care. Visit http://www.midwife.org for more information.