Local advocacy group launches petition drive

A local advocacy group, Local Alliance for Birth Options in Rockford (LABOR), is launching a petition drive, calling for more detailed studies on the safety of vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).

LABOR formed in October of 2002 in response to a July 8, 2001 editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine, which expressed the opinion that repeat cesareans are the best birth choice for mothers who have previously had a cesarean. As a result, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists quickly changed its hospital guidelines for VBAC, making it more difficult for hospitals to provide this opportunity to eligible mothers. LABOR members, many of whom have had both a cesarean and VBAC, immediately found their right to choose how they wish to birth their children was quickly vanishing. They also realized that they weren’t alone. With the c-section rate at an all-time high of 26.1 percent, LABOR is concerned about the safety of so many mothers and babies who are being forced into dangerous surgery when there is a better alternative.

Through research, LABOR members found that the complication rate for VBACS remains largely unchanged, especially when mothers are allowed to labor naturally, without the use of Pitocin. And yet, this one medical journal’s editorial was powerful enough to change the hospital industry standards. In response, LABOR decided to send petitions to three large governmental bodies, the National Institute of Health, the Women’s Health Initiative, and the Surgeon General, requesting a large, randomized study comparing the risk of uterine rupture in natural, non-induced, non-augmented VBAC labors to the risk of uterine rupture in Pitocin-induced and/or augmented VBAC labors. LABOR members believe further research will once again prove the safety of VBAC for eligible mothers. LABOR looks to the day when, once again, mothers will be allowed the right to choose how they want to birth their babies, and that they can do so safely and with the support of the medical community.

If you would like to join this petition drive, or for more information, please call: Jackie de Batista at (815) 239-1325.

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