Friday, March 26, 2010

Week (or so) in Review: Cesareans - and the MMR - on the rise, breastfeeding rates going down.

I can't believe a whole week has transpired already. For those of you who aren't also all wrapped up in the heady thick of it, the NIH conference on VBAC was just the beginning of a slew of stories coming out in the mainstream media about the state of American maternity care; in particular, the rising cesarean rate and the oddly coincidental rising maternal mortality rate. The New York Times, for one, opened their article this Tuesday with "The Caesarean section rate in the United States reached 32 percent in 2007, the country’s highest rate ever, health officials are reporting." This is not news to us birth junkies, of course, but it's still exciting to see it getting major press. Maternal mortality is also getting some major attention.

Then, as of today, the CDC has released the news about breastfeeding rates, and sadly, the news is not great. Blacktating posted about it, calling particular attention to the drop in breastfeeding initiation rates among African American women. As she writes:
According to this report, black breastfeeding initiation rates actually went down from about 60% to about 54% since the CDC's Breastfeeding Report Card came out in 2009, which was based on data collected in 2006. In fact, everyone's rates appear to have taken a hit, with white women's breastfeeding rates going from 78% initiation in 2006 to about 74% and Hispanic women's rates dropping from 82% to 80%.
It's disheartening, to say the least. More incredible new research is coming out practically every day about the essential biological miracle that is breastfeeding, and information seems to be more available than ever before.

So surgical birth continues its rise, and breastfeeding, after going up for a while, actually loses ground.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming . . .

Personal note: With all this in the news, if I didn't have tons going on in the actual material world, I'd be posting about it all daily. But in addition to being involved with planning a birth film series, sponsoring a doula training, preparing for a second birthday party, taking care of a client with twins and prepping to attend a birth in April, I'm also applying for a scholarship to go ahead and get certified in Childbirth Education! *fanfare* (YES, I do want to get certified in everything - becoming a lactation educator and even a placenta encapsulator are both on the future roster as well. I'm addicted. It's becoming a bit of a problem.)

I'm really looking forward teaching classes, and other related, fantastic opportunities are coming together as well. More info to come on the film series and the doula training!


  1. Hooray! (from one childbirth educator to another. Even if you don't have that piece of paper yet that says it, you absolutely are!)

  2. Oh, and the hooray is not about surgery rates rising and breastfeeding rates going down! That's a big BOOO from over here. But it was about you getting ready to certify in CBE:-)

  3. I knew about the increasing Cesarean rate, which is disappointing enough. But I'm even more disappointed to hear that breastfeeding rates are DECREASING. How upsetting!

  4. What is going on with the world, right? What are we doing wrong? It's beyond frustrating that things seem to be getting worse.

  5. Thans for the vote of confidence, roadrunner!

    Ack, Elita, I could have sworn I linked directly to you when I first posted this! It's been a distracting day is all I can say. Fixed!