The preeminent medical journal The Lancet has just released its Midwifery Series, a major project to take stock of the contribution of midwifery to the well-being of childbearing women and newborns. All content from this remarkable Series is freely available after complimentary journal registration.
The quality of maternity care in our country is poor. Childbirth costs more in the United States than in any other developed country, but our maternal and child health outcomes lag behind those of other countries. Too many babies are born at low birth weight. The rates of maternal mortality and prematurity are high. Disparities persist – especially for African American women and babies. And too many women receive unnecessary and unwanted interventions during labor that don’t result in better outcomes.
As Mother’s Day approaches, we renew our commitment to improving the quality of maternity care so women can enjoy safe, satisfying pregnancies and births, and babies can have a healthy start in life. We ask you to join us. We can all play a part in helping pregnant women and newborns get the high-quality care they deserve.
From the desk of: Maureen Corry
The quality of maternity care in our country needs improvement. While transforming the maternity care system will take time, there is progress to report.
In February, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) released a groundbreaking consensus statement on the overuse of cesarean. The statement confirms that the procedure is too often used in ways that do not improve maternal and child health outcomes.
We recently published the results of Listening to Mothers III, the third national U.S. survey of women’s pregnancy and birth experiences. As with previous Listening to Mothers surveys, the latest data show that risky procedures are overused, many beneficial practices are underused, and all too often women lack the support and knowledge required to effectively navigate their maternity care.
We’ve made it easier than ever for you share the survey findings to help improve policy, practice, research, and advocacy.
The Leapfrog Group, a patient safety organization comprised of employers and other purchasers of employee health coverage, has reported measures of maternity care safety for several years, most notably with their survey of hospital rates of early elective deliveries. This year’s Leapfrog Hospital Survey highlights hospital rates of episiotomy. The public can compare episiotomy rates within a city, state, or region. An episiotomy is a surgical cut to enlarge the vagina for vaginal birth. Evidence suggests that routine or frequent use of episiotomy does not benefit babies but increases mothers’ pain, reduces pelvic floor strength, and may predispose women to extensive tears that involve anal sphincter muscles. Despite the evidence, episiotomy rates remain high in some settings.